Through Twitter, Earnhardt connects with fans in a 'whole new way'
By Gray Caldwell
CONCORD, N.C.— Dale Earnhardt Jr. has always had a loyal fanbase.
His 12 consecutive Most Popular Driver awards speak to that fact.
But in 2014, the driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet SS got new insight into his fans—and vice versa.
"I got to know my fans, really, in a whole new way this year," Earnhardt said. "We got to talk a lot on social media. When we lost, we talked. When we won, we talked. That was a great experience for me."
After winning the Daytona 500, Earnhardt joined Twitter. Ever since then, he has gotten "more familiar" with the platform and enjoyed getting to know followers of the No. 88 team.
"It's been all-around an eye-opener to make that connection that wasn't there before," he said.
From holding Q&A sessions with fans to providing insight into his home life to keeping the social media world abreast of his road trip to Colorado, Earnhardt has been active on Twitter.
And while the ability to interact on a daily basis with fans is exciting for Earnhardt, watching those fans submit his name for the Most Popular Driver award was perhaps the most rewarding part of joining the social media community.
"People ask me all the time what the most positive thing about being on Twitter this year was, and I never could give them my honest opinion because I hadn't won the award," he said. "But having won it, seeing those votes every day, seeing that commitment and determination was really inspiring knowing that we had that kind of support.
"It really meant a lot to me."
And if joining Twitter has done just one thing for Earnhardt, it has cemented a fact he felt he already knew.
"NASCAR fans are really the best," he said.
"I feel like I have a good idea of what it's like in other forms of sport or celebrity, what have you, and I believe that our fans are truly the most devoted, most loyal, most vocal—they'll definitely tell you what they think, and we love that, too."