Waiting all day for the rain stop in Daytona was not all that bad.

While intently watching the Hollywood Hotel news crew (which sadly missed Chris Meyers after the tragic death of his son), I was continuously impressed by how Fox Sports and NASCAR weaved Twitter into their ongoing coverage.

For starters, every time a name popped up on the screen, I also saw their Twitter handle.  It wasn’t just for show, either. With a strong and active discussion feed all day on Twitter, the engagement I saw coming from the “celebrities” on the track, both in and out of the rain delay, was far from one-sided.

From comparing Twitter follower counts, sharing Twitter handles, to Mark Martin talking about how much fun he was having engaging with fans via Twitter, the broadcast had it all yesterday.

As a matter of fact, if there was a college course on Twitter discussing effective strategies between on-screen television personalities, athletes, and the fans engaging real time, this could have been it. (Yes, I did say athlete. You try driving 200 mph only inches from other cars in the pack for 500 miles and tell me you won’t get winded)!

Dang, I just get winded watching it.

What I love is that for the last couple of years I have been quietly watching Nascar fans engaging more and more with each other during the races. No fanfare like I see from other sports and events; just real people and real fans converging virally… to watch a race communally.

In this, NASCAR Nation is not alone.

Say what you want about ratings, which I am sure will see a surge with the inclusion of Danica Patrick (who, by the way, boasts over 500k followers on Twitter), NASCAR Nation is now more reflective of a nation that spans across all land masses away from the pockets that have separated it for so long.

With this, people from all over the world are gathering each week to tweet the race while occasionally looking up to watch the race. Certainly, this can be said of other major sports and entertainment events; however, what I love about yesterday was how Fox Sports and NASCAR so naturally harnessed the power of the connection in a way that leveraged the media not to exploit it, but rather embrace it.

I don’t think anyone could have scripted it better. All the TV personalities and drivers played their parts so convincingly, that even they should have been considered for an Oscar!

Yet there was no acting. This was real.

Now, let’s just hope we can get back to racing… and soon!

What better and more natural way to build loyalty beyond what it already is than to unlock the power of Twitter by making yourself accessible to your fan base?

Friends, are you reading this? I am not talking about the NBA, NFL, or UFC… this is NASCAR! This is not supposed to happen in NASCAR Nation, yet there is no more better tool than this to reflect what NASCAR Nation is all about.

Me and Richard Petty when I was 4 at Ontario

With all this said, I give full-disclosure: While growing up on the west coast, all I knew was NASCAR. I remember all the night trips from Portland to Southern California to watch a race at the famed, and now defunct, Riverside or Ontario tracks and then back up to Western Speedway in Canada. Yes, I am a true card-carrying member of NASCAR Nation and proud of it.

For this, I give my weekly social media kudos to both Nascar and Fox Sports for how they have woven Twitter into their DNA as an another extension to reflect who and what they already are.

I give commend them for not appearing like they are forcing connection like a typical marketing gimmick or red carpet campaign. Simply put, this season they have come out swinging with this new found tool.

They didn’t need to change a thing. They just needed to continue being, well… being themselves.

Finally,  just to further my point that they too are also listening to the feed and are engaging (which I love):