Jimmie Johnson

Speed Tweets: Trash talk, yearbook, spare firesuit

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NASCAR’s West Coast swing is over, but we can’t close the book on it just yet.

It’s time for our weekly look at contributions to NASCAR Twitter you may have missed during the Auto Club Speedway race week.

Early last week a Twitter user got the bright idea to troll Tyler Reddick over his 2018 Xfinity Series title, calling him “lucky.”

The last time we checked, leading the final 37 laps of the championship race and winning by 6.9 seconds is the opposite of lucky.

The Richard Childress Racing driver – who leads the points after five races this season – agreed.

Jimmie Johnson has signed a lot of autographs in his nearly two decades in the Cup Series.

But you know you’ve truly made it in life when someone asks you sign your high school yearbook.

That’s the situation he found himself in over the weekend at ACS, which is roughly two hours north of his hometown of El Cajon, California.

A day after beating Kyle Busch in the Xfinity race, Cole Custer was on high alert.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver very quickly became a potential Richard Childress Racing driver as Austin Dillon competed in the Cup race while fighting flu-like symptoms.

In the end, a Ford driver did not have to relieve a Chevy driver and a rip in the space-time continuum was avoided.

Dillon managed to earn a 10th-place finish while Custer got to spend a few hours snug in another driver’s firesuit.

Clint Bowyer had a very quiet exit from Sunday’s race, falling out on Lap 130 to due to overheating problems.

He made sure to inform Twitter of his race progress.

Oh, and he has thoughts on the new rules package.

One driver who did not have a quiet race was Bubba Wallace.

His left front tire went boom on Lap 165. With it went a handful of fan names inscribed on the car through  a special deal with sponsor Plan B Sales and Marketing.

 

You didn’t think we’d go this entire post without mentioning Kyle Busch, did you?

Remember the tall flag Busch waved around after scoring his 200th national NASCAR win?

Well, it had a camera attached to the top of it.

Speed Tweets: A rescheduled wedding, a hole-in-one and a driver fight

Alex Bowman
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The week leading up to today’s Cup race at ISM Raceway was not without big news stories.

That also means there wasn’t a lack of social media reaction to said news.

The week got started off with the announcement that the Cup Series Awards banquet would be held in Nashville.

But what concerned Xfinity driver Chase Briscoe was the date for the Xfinity and Truck Series banquet, held the week before Thanksgiving.

There was a slight scheduling conflict.

Some other big news this week came in the form of the possibility that racing will return to Rockingham Speedway, which hasn’t hosted a Cup race since 2004.

The news caught the attention of Rick Mast, who last competed in the Cup Series in 2002.

How many others drivers could be lured out of retirement by The Rock?

The Year of Denny Hamlin continues.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has followed up his Daytona 500 win last month with another sporting achievement.

He started his weekend off with hitting a hole-in-one.

In case you didn’t hear, Daniel Suarez and Michael McDowell got into a bit of a shoving match Friday during qualifying.

Their fellow competitors sure noticed.

During media availability Friday at the track, Alex Bowman had a little fun and “interviewed” his Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron. If anyone says Bowman doesn’t have a personality, they don’t know what a personality is.

 

Speed Tweets: What you may have missed on Twitter from Las Vegas

Denny Hamlin
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With the start of the West Coast Swing, the NASCAR community and its social media got in the Las Vegas spirit during its trip to Sin City.

Denny Hamlin did his part by paying homage to the movie The Hangover with a shirt inspired by Zach Galifianakis’ character.

This is not the first time a Cup driver got their Hangover on. In 2013, Jimmie Johnson recreated multiple scenes from the film on his Instagram account.

The final laps of Saturday’s Xfinity Series race were marred by multiple wrecks in Turn 3 and 4.

But one fan standing on a RV in the vicinity completely missed Brandon Jones‘ demolished No. 19 car coming to a rest right next to him.

Maybe Menards should consider making its traditional yellow even brighter.

The split of Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus has its bright spots.

One fan decided to take his loyalty to the No. 24 team with Knaus and showed up in the Las Vegas garage bearing a message. Johnson posted pictures of the fan and his makeshift signs over the weekend and may have won him back.

The hottest club in Las Vegas is called the OSS.

It has everything: a Cup car, psychedelic flashing lights and Pitbull music plays at obscene levels when you make it through in one try.

The pre-race ceremonies for Xfinity race had an “only in Vegas” moment when the National Anthem was sung by impersonators of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.

Erik Jones was inspired.

The West Coast Swing has its downsides when it comes to travel time, but Aric Almirola is getting through it thanks to power of caffeine and Dr. Seuss.

Sassy & Sweet tweets from the Daytona 500

Ryan Blaney
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After two-and-half months of buildup the Daytona 500 arrived Sunday, was slowed by two red flags and then was over, with Denny Hamlin claiming his second win in the race in overtime.

Between Lap 1 and Lap 207 a lot happened that led to celebration, reflection, anger and plenty of jokes.

That’s all wrapped up here in a collection of “Sweet and Sassy” tweets that sum up the “Great American Race.”

The Sassy

The day before the Daytona 500 Corey LaJoie went out on a limb to predict it would be a lot more eventful than Saturday’s Xfinity race.

He was right.

For most of Speedweeks there were plenty of complaints about the style of racing, with fields running single file against the wall.

Many feared the 500 would provide only more of that.

Those fears vanished when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. quickly got the bottom groove working in the opening laps as he led a line of cars to challenge the top lane.

The first caution of the race struck on Lap 50 for a six-car wreck that involved Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick, the latter who was making his first Cup start.

Reddick jabbed back at Wallace after a passive aggressive, AKA a subtweet, directed at him.

Kyle Larson had a Daytona 500 to forget. He was involved in three separate incidents inside the final 30 laps, including a spin after he cut a tire.

But in the same vain as his Charlotte Roval performance last year, Larson brought a mangled No. 42 Chevrolet home to the checkered flag, finishing seventh for his third top 10 in 11 Daytona starts.

The Sweet

Ryan Preece made his Daytona 500 debut and after having a brief shot to compete for the win in overtime before he placed eighth.

During the late stages of the race, the crowd at Daytona began a chant in support of the rookie driver.

Hamlin led a 1-2-3 finish in the 500 for Joe Gibbs Racing, the first time that’s happened in the team’s history. It came a month after the passing of J.D. Gibbs, the son of Joe Gibbs and co-founder of the team.

Customers at the Steak N’ Shake near Daytona International Speedway got a surprise Sunday night as they shared the restaurant with Joe Gibbs Racing’s celebration dinner.

Sunday also marked the first Cup race since the passing of Wood Brothers Racing co-founder Glen Wood. Ryan Blaney, who drove for the team from 2015-17, sported a special helmet in Wood’s memory. It was designed after a helmet Wood wore when he raced.

Matt DiBenedetto experienced the best race of his career, leading a race-high 49 laps before being part of a wreck on Lap 191.

But on Monday the mind of the former Joe Gibbs Racing driver was still on the team and what it was able to do to honor J.D. Gibbs.

Driver Cody Ware‘s 500 ended with a wreck 41 laps from the end of the scheduled distance. But on Monday morning Ware’s thoughts were on being able to help others after sharing his story of dealing with depression and anxiety.

 and on Facebook

Chase Elliott, Bubba Wallace lead Cup drivers in gained Twitter followers in 2018

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We’re now in the final hours of 2018 and as we all reflect on its highs and lows, it’s time to follow-up on one lingering thread from the beginning of the year.

On Jan. 2 we published a post looking at how many Twitter followers each full-time Cup driver had that day.

Now we’ve gone through and tallied up their totals 12 months later.

These numbers come with a bit of an asterisk. In July, Twitter undertook a campaign to purge the social media platform of bot accounts and the accounts of NASCAR drivers and teams were not left untouched.

On Jan. 2, Jimmie Johnson led all full-time Cup drivers with 2,636,014 followers. According to Kickin’ the Tires, Johnson lost roughly 60,000 followers in the purge, putting him at around 2.6 million. At press time on Dec. 31, his follower count had risen to 2,645,151. He’s the only active Cup driver with more than a million followers.

Overall, Chase Elliott and Bubba Wallace had the largest net gains in followers. Elliott added 74,572 followers in the year where he was voted the Cup Series’ Most Popular Driver. Wallace added 57,163 followers in a year where he finished second in the Daytona 500 and was the subject of a Facebook Watch series that documented the build up to his start in the race.

Denny Hamlin saw the largest net loss of followers. On Jan. 2 he had 763,325 followers. Five months after the purge, Hamlin has 721,289 followers for a let loss of just over 42,000 followers.

Here’s each Cup driver’s follower count on Jan. 2 and their count 12 months later (post bot account purge).

 

Driver                     Jan. 2 total                Dec. 31 total

Jimmie Johnson – 2,636,014                    2,645,151 (Net gain of 9,137)

Kasey Kahne – 963,189                             985,387 (Net gain of 22,198)

Kevin Harvick – 954,433                           981,109 (Net gain of 26,676)

Kyle Busch – 899,151                                 897,231 (Net loss of 1,920)

Brad Keselowski – 766,394                       756,456 (Net loss of 9,938)

Denny Hamlin – 763,325                            721,289 (Net loss of 42,036)

Chase Elliott – 733,157                               807,729 (Net gain of 74,572)

Clint Bowyer – 626,345                              666,390 (Net gain of 40,045)

Joey Logano – 472,237                              481,538 (Net gain of 9,301 in title season)

Martin Truex Jr. – 423,074                         446,344 (Net gain of 23,270)

Ryan Newman – 367,002                            360,882 (Net loss of 6,120))

Kyle Larson – 349,659                                395,424 (Net gain of 45,765)

Kurt Busch – 342,699                                 376,789 (Net gain of 34,090)

Jamie McMurray – 317,209                         317,617 (Net gain of 408)

Trevor Bayne – 272,939                              260,528 (Net loss of 12,411)

Austin Dillon – 270,967                                278,484 (Net gain of 7,517)

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – 227,632                    228,456 (Net gain of 824)

AJ Allmendinger – 217,197                           216,738 (Net loss of 459)

Ryan Blaney – 161,730                                 213,678 (Net gain of 51,948)

Ty Dillon – 156,602                                      159,270 (Net gain of 2,668)

Darrell Wallace Jr. – 126,473                      183,636 (Net gain of 57,163)

David Ragan – 121,643                                120,490 (Net loss of 1,153)

Aric Almirola – 112,423                                127,860 (Net gain of 15,437)

Michael McDowell – 88,435                       88,340 (Net loss of 95)

Alex Bowman – 58,194                                77,965 (Net gain of 19,771)

Erik Jones – 53,041                                     68,140 (Net gain of 15,099)

Matt DiBenedetto – 49,495                        59,864 (Net gain of 10,369)

Daniel Suarez – 41,081                                52,589 (Net gain of 11,508)

Chris Buescher – 38,981                             27,868 (Net loss of 11,113)

William Byron – 36,169                                55,416 (Net gain of 19,247)

 and on Facebook