NASCAR looks to online social networks

By Andrew Lippe

Stoneacre, the operator of the Official NASCAR Members Club, has developed a social networking system (http://www.onmc.com/) where club members can interact with other fellow NASCAR fans through exclusive online capabilities. It’s a community where NASCAR fans share their passions of the sport in individual blogs, and discussion forums.

On the heels of MySpace and Facebook the site allows for customized personal profiles, as well as specialized news section where fans can search for their favorite drivers. Fans can also receive special offline VIP benefits to race events. Membership costs $7.00 a month.

“This the one stop for NASCAR fans,” said Ed Martin SVP of community at Stoneacre. The Official NASCAR Members Club has provided a social network to expand the fan population. Upgrading The Official NASCAR Members Club website will allow NASCAR fans to find other fans with similar interests, and provide a place where they can share the lifestyle of being a NASCAR fan. “Communities from all over the world come together,” said Martin.
The website is operated by a cooperative team in stations all over the United States. Stoneacre has teams in Atlanta and North Carolina all providing information to the database. Ed Martin serves as the website’s “conductor.” “The social network is an elegant assembly of partners that comes together,” said Martin.
NASCAR Members Club provides up to the minute news by utilizing RSS 2.0 technology. “RSS is quick and efficient,” said Martin. Through RSS technology fans can also specify the NASCAR news alerts. VIP benefits such as advanced sales of exclusive race ticket packages, opportunities to attend driver events, limited-edition merchandise, and invitations to local NASCAR activities organized by Local Chapters of the Club are available by the click of the mouse.

The personal profile pages integrated in the new website means NASCAR is aiming toward a younger audience. “NASCAR does have an ever-growing young audience viewership demographic,” said Martin. While at Hasbro Martin dealt first hand with hitting the young ages.

However, NASCAR Members Club doesn’t just cater to the young audience but the true NASCAR devotees. “This technology bridges the gap. Social networking allows fans young and old to come together,” said Martin.