Celebrating Twitter’s 10th Birthday With @Keselowski

Twitter celebrated its 10th birthday on March 21, and there might not be a NASCAR driver more thankful for the social media account than Brad Keselowski

An avid tweeter, Brad Keselowski is adamant on being as close to his fans as he can be, but it wasn’t until 2009 that he decided to share his experiences and musings with the world. It’ll be seven years in May since Kes first tweeted, and for Twitter’s 10th birthday, we’re celebrating some of @Keselowski’s most memorable moments on the social media site.

HUMBLE ORIGINS

For Brad, it started out fairly quiet. Putting out a first Tweet saying, “Thanks for following!” Since then, more than 650,000 followed the Rochester Hills, Mich. native. BK sent out his first Tweet in the days leading to the May 2009 Charlotte XFINITY race, where he would go on to finish eighth. The following year, he brought home the 2010 XFINITY Series crown, Team Penske’s first NASCAR title.

FROM THE COCKPIT

No list of Brad’s most memorable Twitter interactions would be complete without his mid-race tweet from the 2012 Daytona 500. The race was already a historical one: For the first time in the 54 years of the event, weather delayed the most coveted race of the season from Sunday afternoon to Monday night.

Under caution, competitor Juan Pablo Montoya was exiting pit road when disaster struck his No. 42 machine. Montoya spun on the track, smashing a track drying ‘jet dryer’ in Turn 3. The collision caused a fireball, resulting in a lengthy red flag. Keselowski couldn’t let the opportunity go to waste, so he decided to pull out his phone and share his view of the incident with the world.

Since then, Brad has been one of the most active athletes on Twitter. David Higdon, Vice President of Integrated Marketing Communications for NASCAR, was thrilled about BK’s fan involvement.

“He distinguished himself in being the poster child for an engaging athlete — the type of athlete that the fans really connect to in a multitude of ways,” Higdon said.

Today, the infamous photo lives on in Brad’s Twitter header.

BRINGING FANS ALONG FOR THE RIDE

The Daytona 500 was not Kes’s only fan-friendly Daytona Speedweeks experience. In the weeks leading up to the annual Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona, Brad invited his fans to ride along with him on his No. 19 Twitter Dodge RAM.

The contest ended up being a great success as over 2,000 of BK’s biggest fans had the opportunity to go for a 190mph ride. The contest was one of the first examples of Brad reaching out to his followers in one shot, as he then realized he can connect with so many people at once.

“What drew me to Twitter was the one-on-one interaction you have with your fans,” Brad said. “I really use it as my fan club. As it has grown there are challenges to keeping up with it, but it’s a labor of love.”

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Brad’s Checkered Flag Foundation offered fans their piece of sheet metal for a donation to the charity, which supports many veteran

VIEW FROM VICTORY LANE

Just one month following Brad’s historic in-car Tweet in Daytona, we were given his view from Victory Lane. Returning to the Winner’s Circle at Bristol gave BK the opportunity to share with the fans the one place every driver wants to be.

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This time around, Twitter wanted to capitalize off of Kes’s breakthrough, releasing their first ever television commercial. Run during the 2012 Pocono 400 in June, the sixteen second ad featured Keselowski with phone in hand, about to celebrate victory.

BABY ON THE WAY

Brad has always been one of the most transparent drivers, sharing his views on anything and everything. In the Winter of 2015, in one of his most loved blog entries, Brad announced that he and girlfriend Paige were expecting a child. In the blog, Brad has requested that everyone – media and fans alike respect his wish for privacy. Fast forward a few months to May, BK couldn’t help but share his excitement for good news.

CONSTANT CONTACT

Keselowski has seemingly always had reason to carry a phone with him. In 2007, when Brad landed his first real ride driving for Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s JR Motorsports, he was involved in a violent crash at Fontana. The incident was so severe, the race was red flagged – and Brad was strapped to a backboard, placed on a stretcher, and airlifted to a local hospital. At the time, he didn’t carry a cell phone with him, but the inspiration for it came from his mother. Brad just wanted to let his mom know that he was alright.

“That’s why I keep the phone with me now,” Kes said following Daytona. “I had the team put a little pocket for it in the car. It has a practical purpose. …The phone wasn’t there for a red flag at Daytona and a jet-dryer explosion. I don’t have that much foresight. You can’t plan moments like that. They just happen.”

For Brad and his mom, they will have to work out a new plan as NASCAR has since prohibited any outside technology in the racecar. For Twitter, 10 years have gone by, seven of them with BK as a member. It has been interesting to see the evolution of social media, and Brad’s part in that. Going forward, Kes hopes that he can continue to bring fans along for in his quest for a second Sprint Cup title.

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