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Was The NASCAR Sprint Cup Persuaded By Twitter Outcry?

NASCAR Sprint CupNASCAR has continued to prove its excellence in the social media game.  The final race for the Chase was held at Richmond International Raceway and many believe tampering was involved.  In light of the situation – and perhaps fan outcry on Twitter – NASCAR added a 13th spot in a 12 car Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Did Twitter play a role in the addition of a 13th spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup?

It came to the attention of NASCAR that drivers may have been pitting and intentionally spinning out to control the outcome of the Chase.  It was also reported that Front Row Motorsports and Penske Racing may have teamed up to ensure Joey Lagano made the 12 car lineup.

Racing fans took to Twitter to ensure their voices were heard.  They repeated the act after NASCAR announced that Jeff Gordon would be added as the 13th driver in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Some fans – maybe even Jeff Gordon himself – are now questioning the integrity of the sport.  Zack Miller of Hudson, Fla., spoke on the NFL’s “Fail Mary” play and told USA TODAY Sports via Twitter:

“NASCAR took a step away from having a ‘sport culture’. Look at the NFL. The Packers didn’t get the fair result. Everyone knew that wasn’t a touchdown, yet Seahawks won, Packers lost, and it was concerned an officiating error. NASCAR, by taking (these) actions, has stepped into the way of competition.”

Jeff Gordon also spoke on the situation:

“Yes, the integrity of the sport has been put at question.  I think we have one of the greatest sports that exists. To see our integrity get questioned is very upsetting to me, and I think we, along with NASCAR, have to solve this.”

In a world that is ruled by social media, NASCAR has put itself in a peculiar situation.  They have built up the NASCAR brand by engaging fans in an unparalleled fashion.  Would the decision to add a 13th spot to the Chase for NASCAR Sprint Cup have been made were it not for social media?  Wes Stull of Frederick, Md., told USA TODAY Sports via email:

“Difficult to say.  However, being the owner of an internet marketing company, some of the most successful brands I see are the ones who monitor their social media feedback and take action accordingly.”

Stull went on to claim that NASCAR did the right thing by adding Gordon.  He also noted that adding a high profile driver such as Gordon might help them gain attention and viewership at a time when football tends to dominate the sports landscape.

You can take a look at a NASCAR press conference below explaining the decision to add Jeff Gordon to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.  Do you think big-time organizations can over-utilize social media?  Do you think NASCAR paid too much attention to the social media outcry surrounding this situation?  Comment below with your opinion.

Photo credit – tomsrjustsayin.blogspot.com

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