Judging from social media and regular media responses Friday night, Josh Wise winning the fan vote to get into Saturday’s Sprint All-Star Race was something nobody saw coming, not even Wise himself.
“I’m still trying to wrap my head around it,” Wise told reporters Friday night. “This is huge for me and our team.”
Usually when there’s some kind of fan popularity vote, that voite going to Dale Earnhardt Jr. is pretty much a given. When Earnhardt’s not an option, insert Danica Patrick. As winner of the Daytona 500, Earnhardt’s already in the All-Star Race, so he wasn’t one of the fans’ choices in the Sprint Fan Vote. But Patrick was. Patrick won said vote last year and was pretty much expected to be the recipient of the free pass into the All-Star Race, again, this time around. I’m pretty sure I remember seeing one headline that read something like, “Josh Wise wins fan vote, beats Danica Patrick.” He also beat more than 20 other drivers, but that just goes to show how much Patrick was expected to win this popularity contest.
Of course, with Patrick’s huge poulation of haters and fans who, simply, aren’t impressed by her NASCAR performance, so far, seem to have a hard time understanding the drove of fans who actually do root for her and, in turn, cast votes for her for things like the All-Star Race.
Now, it seems droves of fans are in a tizzy and crying “foul” because Patrick didn’t receive the popular vote. That probably wouldn’t be a problem if another, at least somewhat, big name had received the vote — maybe someone like Austin Dillon. After all, Dillon’s driving Dale Earnhardt’s old number three and drives for and is the grandson of one of the sport’s favorite owners, Richard Childress. Marcos Ambrose, anyone? Aric Almirola drives for Richard Petty and his car dons the iconic No. 43. Don’t forget Kyle Larson.
If Clint Bowyer or A.J. Allmendinger had received the most votes, the fan vote slot would have gone to the next in line, considering Bowyer and Allmendinger advanced by finishing the Showdown in the top-two spots. Even if that had been the case, who would’ve thought Wise would have been next in line? After all, there’s still Patrick, Ambrose, Almirola and everyone else.
Nothing against wise, but I’m guessing in a typical NASCAR driver popularity contest among the 23 drivers in Friday night’s Sprint Showdown, Wise would probably rank somewhere around 23rd.
I guess that just goes to show the power of social media. The only way Wise’s team even has sponsorship funding was because some 16-year-old kid posted something on Reddit about how underdog and underfunded Wise had been performing on the track lately, and a grassroots effort was underway that put digital currency Dogecoin on Wise’s car and then later got Wise the votes needed to get into the All-Star Race. According to reports, Patrick got more votes this year than the tally that won her the most popular election last year, and even that wasn’t enough to beat out Wise’s Reddit/Dogecoin army.
Since last night, I’ve heard such complaints that Reddit and/or Dogecoin bribed folks to vote for Wise with a promised donation to charity. Other drivers and their teams promised charitable donations for votes, so what’s the difference? I also heard that some to the tech geeks were able to take advantage of the system to vote thousands of times. I have to admit that the explanation of that complaint went over my head, so I’ll just let that one be. Tech geek/nerd, I am not.
Patrick may be tops when Junior isn’t a part of the equation when it comes to merchandise sales, Facebook and Twitter, but apparently, she doesn’t rule on Reddit with the Dogecoin crowd.
Guess I’m going to have to check this Reddit thing out.
Follow us on twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook: NASCAR Examiner. They’re not Reddit, but that’s where we’re at.