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The Great American Race Is a Boon for Brands

Daytona 500 Sets Tone for NASCAR Season

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Social Media
February 18, 2022
June 21, 2022
 min read

Loud engine roars, distinct automobile aromas, and an air of enthusiasm will abound from the paddocks to the stands on Sunday afternoon when 40 of the world’s best stock car drivers converge at Daytona International Speedway for the 64th running of the Great American Race. Considered to be the most prestigious event on the NASCAR calendar, the Daytona 500 serves as an annual catalyst for drivers and their brand partners. This year’s race will start much the same way the 2021 season finished – with Kyle Larson out in front. The 2021 Cup Series champion earned the Busch Light Pole during qualifying earlier this week, guaranteeing his Hendricks.com Chevrolet will be on the front row when the green flag waves. Before the new NASCAR season begins in earnest, we used MVP’s platform to determine which drivers produced the most valuable social content across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter over the past year. While former champions and fan favorites from NASCAR’s Cup Series accounted for nine of the top 10 places in our rankings, a driver from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series lapped the field.

Cup Drivers Chasing Hailie Deegan

Among stock car racing’s most exciting, marketable drivers is 20-year-old Hailie Deegan, who is scheduled to begin her second season in NASCAR’s truck series when she competes in the NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona International Speedway next Friday. Despite being relatively new on the racing scene, Deegan has already amassed more than 2 million followers across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and she credits her popularity on the platforms with her position on the circuit, noting in a recent interview that social notoriety has helped attract sponsors. As a result of her following, she was the most valuable NASCAR driver on social media during the 2021 season, generating $4.34M in post value and attributing roughly $1.2M of that total to brand partners. Deegan’s 2.84% engagement rate during the year ending February 10 was higher than all other drivers among the top 10 in post value and helped her earn 13.6 million total engagements – 2.53x more than Kyle Busch, who finished the season with the second-most. Despite only half as many posts, Deegan’s value created was 16% higher than Busch’s $3.74M. Chase Elliott, who was named NASCAR’s most popular driver for the fourth time in a row in 2021, rounded out the top three by earning $2.77M in post value last year.

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Kyle Busch Accelerates Past Peers

Though Deegan led all drivers in value accrued during the year, Busch was a wire-to-wire leader among Cup Series drivers. He generated $332.8K worth of post value in February 2021 and ultimately accrued 34% more value through social media posts than his next closest competitor in Elliott. Strong in his pursuit of Elliott through much of the season was Brad Keselowski, who accrued $2.41M in post value from February 2021 through January of this year. The pair separated from other top drivers beginning last May. Joey Logano, Bubba Wallace, and Denny Hamlin took the next three spots in our accrual rankings, with Martin Truex Jr. the only other driver to generate more than $1M in post value. Champion Kyle Larson finished the season with $730.2K in post value, but he was one of only two drivers – Deegan being the other – to increase average monthly value at the beginning of the season and during the playoffs. Larson finished the year with a 3.15% engagement rate.

2021 Daytona 500 Topped $3M in Post Value

Racing fans across the country will fix their focus on Daytona, FL this weekend, and many will take to social media to share their thoughts and reactions before, during, and after the race. Such was the case last year, too, when the event’s primary social channels – NASCAR, NASCAR on FOX, and Daytona International Speedway – combined to create $3.12M worth of post value during race week. The biggest brand winner during the period was Busch Beer, which is poised to improve upon last year’s success. As title sponsor of the Busch Light Clash – a preseason exhibition that was held at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum two weeks ago – the company saw a 26% increase in brand value received compared to 2021. 

Not Your Typical Sunday Drive

Beginning with qualifying earlier this week and the Duel races that finalized starting positions on Thursday through the checkered flag on Sunday, brand partners are omnipresent on NASCAR broadcasts and across social channels belonging to the governing body and its drivers. Racing into Victory Lane at the Daytona 500 can set the tone for the whole season and accelerate engagements, impressions, and value on social media for athletes and their sponsors. MVP will continue to monitor social activity during this weekend’s race while also tracking viewership figures using our broadcast platform to provide significant sponsorship valuation figures in the coming weeks.

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