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Assessing the Field Ahead of Daytona

MVP Examines Social Media Prominence for NASCAR Teams, Drivers

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Social Media
February 17, 2023
February 17, 2023
 min read

Every NASCAR season begins with a return to the place where it all began for the league: Daytona Beach, Florida. After three months comprising both rest and diligent preparation for another year spent at tracks across the U.S., 40 drivers and their teams descend upon Daytona International Speedway with visions of winning NASCAR’s most prestigious race and setting the tone for a grueling, cross-country campaign. This week has already delivered plenty of excitement for fans thanks to the Daytona 500’s unique qualifying system. On Wednesday, Alex Bowman and Kyle Larson secured their places on the front row of Sunday’s race during the single-car qualifying phase, and the rest of the field was set on Thursday during a pair of Bluegreen Vacations Duel Races. So, with the starting lineup in place, anticipation and banter is nearing full volume on social media leading up to the green flag in two short days. To determine what that may mean for teams and drivers, we examined owned social media accounts among NASCAR entities throughout the year ending February 12. Encompassing the entire 2022 season and ensuing offseason, MVP has examined which stock car superstars are the most engaging online and what that means for the value of their posts. But before breaking down teams and drivers on an individual basis, we must explore the social relevance of NASCAR itself, which exceeded 40 million engagements across its owned channels last year.

NASCAR Creates 1.8B Impressions in 2022

Across the three major social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – NASCAR boasts a combined 10.49 million followers, of which 48.4% are connected through Facebook. It is a unique distribution relative to other North American sports, as MLB, the NBA, NFL, and NHL all count Facebook followers as less than 30% of their overall following. And due to its high proportion of followers on Facebook, the motorsports league creates its largest percentage of impressions on the app. Last year, of NASCAR’s 1.8 billion total social impressions, 45.4% came on Facebook. However, it was another social platform that delivered the lion’s share of engagements for NASCAR. The league has only 1.77 million followers on Instagram, but the image-sharing app accounted for 62.9% of the league’s 40 million engagements last year. And encouragingly for the league, IG is where it saw its largest year-over-year follower growth. While NASCAR’s Facebook followers grew by a mere 0.87% and Twitter growth was only 3.47% last year, IG followers increased by 11.23%. With a larger social footprint, NASCAR will aim to boost its total post value in 2023 above the $37.1M it achieved last season – which represented a 1.5% yearly decline.

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Stewart-Haas Racing Speeds Past Field

Last season, 10 NASCAR Cup Series teams exceeded $1M in total post value, but only one topped the $5M mark. In the year leading up to this season’s Daytona week, Stewart-Haas Racing generated $5.04M in total post value as a result of 4.96M engagements and 230.4 million impressions across its owned channels, with each figure ranking first among teams during that span. SHR was able to pip Hendrick Motorsports in all three categories despite Hendrick having 59.2% more followers. Nevertheless, Hendrick finished second last year in all three categories and was the only other team to surpass 200 million total impressions, creating 216.6 million from 3,656 posts. Rounding out the top three in post value were RFK Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing – which finished third in total engagements – and Team Penske.

Notably, Trackhouse Racing far outdid its counterparts in engagement rate during the season. Trackhouse benefited greatly from Ross Chastain’s slingshot move in the season’s penultimate race to reach the championship in Phoenix, as social content featuring video of the brazen decision elevated the team’s yearly engagement rate to 2.38% – at least 10.8x higher than any of the teams in the top five of our post value rankings managed.

Most Engaging Driver Changes Teams

In our team rankings, Richard Childress Racing finished ninth last season with 1.13 million engagements. But adding a new driver to its roster promises to provide a boost to that figure. After spending the last 15 years at Joe Gibbs Racing, Kyle Busch has made the move to RCR for the 2023 season. The transition comes on the heels of Busch leading all NASCAR Cup Series drivers in our annual social rankings. With 2.01 million followers across his owned channels, Busch earned 5.19 million engagements over the last year – a figure that not only exceeds all driver totals but would also top MVP’s team rankings. Furthermore, he created 195.8 million total impressions on 1,021 posts, resulting in $4.3M worth of post value generation.

With 3.29 million engagements last season, 2022 Cup Series Champion Joey Logano finished second among the circuit’s drivers, followed by fellow finalist Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch – whose $2.24M in total post value ranked second behind his younger brother’s total – and Bubba Wallace. 2022 Finalist Ross Chastain rounded out the top 10 of our engagements rankings with 1.5 million of his own.

New Season’s Green Flag is Ready to Wave

More than 100,000 fans are expected to attend the 65th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, with millions more set to watch on television. Accordingly, the race and other ancillary events represent prime marketing opportunities for the league, its drivers, and its teams, as evidenced by post values for the season peaking during Daytona week last year. MVP will monitor accounts for everyone from front-row sitters Alex Bowman and Kyle Larson and fan favorites such as Kyle Busch and Joey Logano to under-the-radar drivers aiming for a surprise victory like Austin Cindric enjoyed last year. Stay connected with us in the coming weeks for social and broadcast analysis from The Great American Race.

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