SPARTA — When Brad Keselowski tweeted from his car during a long race stoppage of the 2012 Daytona 500, the NASCAR driver more than tripled his Twitter following from 65,000 to over 200,000 in a matter of hours.
Ever since, Keselowski has been considered something of a cutting-edge sports figure when it comes to engaging fans via social media. As of late Saturday afternoon, the driver who was slated to wheel the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford in the fifth Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts had 573,000 Twitter followers.
"Some days I look at that and I think, 'Who are these people?'" Keselowski said of his large Twitter following. "Other days, I'm just thankful to have them."
Asked how he handles the anger in social media that is oft directed at a public figure, Keselowski said "Honestly, I ignore a lot of it. Some of that is just ignorance and bliss. "
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Jokingly, Keselowski said he is working on a hierarchy of personality traits that should determine who is on social media.
"I feel like there should be one of those 'Do I belong on social media?,'" Keselowski said.
"'Are you angry?' 'Yes.'
"'Well, then it's automatic, 'Yes, you belong on social media.'"
The ability to write witty things and having relevance to other people would be next on his chart of 'traits of who should be on social media,' Keselowski said.
In the run-up to Jeff Gordon's final appearance as a competitor in the Quaker State 400, Kentucky Speedway General Manager Mark Simendinger said the track would seek an appropriate farewell gift for the retiring NASCAR icon that represented the best of the commonwealth of Kentucky.
Early Friday evening, we saw what the Speedway came up with.
Four Roses, Jim Beam, Michter's and Wild Turkey each gave the four-time Sprint Cup Series champion 24 bottles of Kentucky bourbon. Each bottle contained a special one-of-a-kind autographed label.
The Kentucky Distillers' Association chipped in a trunk full of glassware and other gifts for Gordon.
Master Distillers Jimmy Russell (Wild Turkey), Jim Rutledge (Four Roses), Fred Noe Sr. (Jim Beam) and Willie Pratt (Michter's) were on hand at Kentucky Speedway to honor Gordon.
"This fits right in my wheelhouse," Gordon said after the 96 bottles of bourbon were unveiled. "Some, I'm going to make collectibles (of some of the bottles). Some, I'll give (away) as gifts. And some I'm going to drink."
Confederate flag exchange
As did Daytona International Speedway last weekend, Kentucky Speedway was offering to give any fan who wanted to trade in a Confederate flag a free American flag or the flag of their favorite driver.
By early Saturday afternoon, Simendinger said no one had exchanged a Confederate flag.
Minions and Carl Edwards
Biggest crowd in the Kentucky Speedway garage area during car inspections for the 2015 Quaker State 400 was around the car of Carl Edwards. To promote the Minions movie, the No. 19 Toyota Camry was sporting a paint scheme that featured the yellow characters that made their debut in the film Despicable Me.
Three people wearing the yellow costumes of the Minions were on hand posing for photos with Edwards, his pit crew and the car.
"I've made it guys," Edwards said as he posed with the Minions.