Seagulls in the infield, Tweets in the garage during Daytona rain delay
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- In the days before social media, drivers would pass the time during rain delays sleeping in their RVs or playing poker with each other, crew members and even the media.
Now, many of them Tweet ... a l lot.
One thing that sent the NASCAR-related Twitterverse buzzing Sunday was the lengthy delay of the Daytona 500 due to stubborn rain cells that kept passing over the area.
NASCAR drivers, famous for their relationship with fans, began communicating with them and each other on their smart phones, beginning after the driver introductions.
Some tweets expressed the obvious.
"I got a feeling this is going to be a long day," tweeted David Ragan.
Others were comedic, such as this offering by an unknown tweeter using the Stewart-Haas Racing team account: "BREAKING NEWS: Billy Crystal bows out of Oscar hosting to watch rain-delay coverage of #Daytona 500. Family Guy's Peter Griffin fills in."
Yet another driver used the delay and Twitter to communicate a special offer to his fans, and perhaps answer a question tweeted by Danica Patrick. Landon Cassill, who drives the No. 83 Toyota Burger King car, tweeted: "I'm headed to Burger King outside [the Speedway] and give these free Whopper cards away. Tweet me if you're coming."
That came just a few minutes after Patrick tweeted: "I wonder how busy the restaurants are outside the track?"
Cassill was as good as his word. He followed his earlier tweet with: "I'm here now if anyone wants a free Whopper. Don't be shy. I've got Whopper cards!"
And never let it be said that wives of race car drivers aren't in tune with competing events on other networks. DeLana Harvick, the wife of driver Kevin Harvick, tweeted: "How about not watch golf?" in response to her husband's tweet, "Well, what should we do now."
The PGA Tour's first World Golf Championship, the Accenture Match Play, began on NBC at 2 p.m., under sunny skies near Tucson, Ariz. But not every driver followed DeLana Harvick's suggestion: Scott Speed was trading tweets with golf fans about the progress of the championship match between Rory McIlroy and Hunter Mahan.
DeLana Harvick has been known to send as many as 50 tweets during a race giving her husband's status to fans.
Joey Logano used Twitter to try and track Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton, who was in own for the race and to jokingly respond to a fan's request that drivers find some golf carts and race in the infield. Greg Biffle pondered fishing in the infield pond. Austin Dillon implored NASCAR to consider retractable roofs.
And so on.
NASCAR drivers have taken to social media as much, if not more, than athletes of other sports who love Twitter, such as the NBA and golfers. It's estimated that easily two dozen NASCAR drivers who are staples in each field are avid on Twitter. Even 53-year-old Mark Martin, who recently told the media he had only learn to text last year, has gotten a Twitter account.
Some of the drivers are a bit too enthusiastic about sharing their opinions. Denny Hamlin was fined $50,000 by NASCAR last year for a Tweet that questioned the timing of a late caution. Other drivers such as Juan Pablo Montoya and Harvick posted controversial items.
But on this rainy, dreary day, most of the tweets expressed frustration, boredom and a desire to get onto the track.
"That's the million-dollar question" Logano tweeted in response to a fan asking if the drivers would fire up their cars.
Examples of NASCAR driver tweets during Sunday's rain delay
"Are there any fish in the lake?"
-- Greg Biffle
"I was going to wait until Darlington to give away one of my race-worn suits, but I'm bored so today's the day. LOL."
-- Regan Smith
"We need a track with a retractable roof."
-- Austin Dillon
"Man this rain delay is a killer!!!!
-- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
"I would in a heart beat. I have a fast one."
-- Joey Logano, in response to a fan tweet that the drivers should have golf cart races.
"Has anyone seen Kate Upton around the track?"
"Maybe I should download an app to kill some time. Any ideas?
-- Joe Nemechek