Don’t underestimate social media. Sure, it can be a dumping ground for trolls, but it’s also a place where followers means influence, and influence means money.
By that measure, there’s one driver in NASCAR poised to take over Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s title as most popular driver in the sport.
The 21-year-old had a hell of a week on the track, coming of age when he decided he wasn’t going to take Kevin Harvick’s crap and paid him back by pushing him out of Phoenix. But off the track, he’s building up an impressive resume.
Here are a couple if salient points. First, as pointed out by Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal, Elliott is the only driver in his 20s who made the top 5 of average value per social media post. Said another way, his posts can make some serious money. This is particularly important to NASCAR because the No. 1 name on the list — Dale Jr — is retiring after this season, and the No. 3 name — Danica Patrick — may not race next season.
But Stern provided some more context when he noted that Elliott has nearly 1.2 million followers on his social media accounts and has an engagement rating that’s off the hook.
The bottom line is this — Elliott, more than any other young driver, looks poised to take the popularity mantle and run with it.