Sport: Meet the man behind @nascarcasm, one of Twitter’s best parody accounts - PressFrom - US
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SportMeet the man behind @nascarcasm, one of Twitter’s best parody accounts

20:16  14 march  2019
20:16  14 march  2019 Source:   ftw.usatoday.com

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Meet the man behind @nascarcasm, one of Twitter’s best parody accounts© File Photo File Photo

More than a NASCAR driver, team or even the governing body itself, the Twitter account fans should be following is @nascarcasm.

The parody account features witty jokes, goofy memes, brilliant takes on the latest NASCAR headlines and, as of late, ridiculous photos of Elliott Sadler as the avatar. It relentlessly makes fun of drivers and their oddities, and they often respond back with jabs of their own.

For The Win recently spoke with the man behind @nascarcasm, who remains an anonymous resident in Indianapolis and managed to turn his parody account into a full-time job with NASCAR Digital Media. He started the account in June of 2010, and it now has 158,000 followers, including many drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mario Andretti, Jimmie Johnson and Danica Patrick.

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Even though he works for NASCAR now, he said he's always had creative control: "They've never said this or that when it comes to the account."

We talked to @nascarcasm about the origins of his famous account, maintaining his anonymity and some of his favorite stories.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Did you have anything about this Twitter account originally planned or has it just evolved?

Everything that has happened up until this very day I consider to be an accident, a very happy accident. There was really no business plan or strategy behind it. I was watching a race with my wife one day and was making snide comments to her. Twitter had just kind of started at that point, and it was just, "What the hell?"

So how did you to turn the parody account into a job?

Basically, just continuing to post and continuing to be annoying until they had no choice. You just had to be loud and obnoxious enough that they had no choice but to pay attention. I don't really know.

What's the best way to characterize the tone or personality of the account?

It's really a matter of trying to be - with an emphasis on trying because I don't always get it right and fail quite a bit - but you try to crack wise without being mean. I never try to say anything that would be worse than a good-natured roast. It's a matter of toeing that line. I know Twitter is a cesspool now, and people take pride in being mean and nasty on there.

And if I post something and then I go back and look and go, "Ohh, that's over the line," I feel horrible. And over the course of the years, I've learned where the line is, but I can't really define it all that well. But hopefully if you can make someone laugh without being just completely mean or vitriolic.

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Do you ever delete something you think is over that line?

Oh, I delete right and left - not really because it's over the line. I wish I could be a better self-editor, but there's stuff you put up and go back to your timeline and 10 minutes later, it's like, "What the hell were you thinking? Take that down. That's awful."

Because you work for NASCAR, do you ever feel like you can't comment on something?

Not really, no. If there's something I'm not commenting on, it's probably something I wouldn't have commented on when I started. Twitter's a very polarized place, and there's a lot of topics where I've found it's just better not to lurch into those.

Was your anonymity always a part of it? @nascarcasm goes beyond anonymous parody accounts because even when people post pictures with you, they blur your face still.

It started that way, and it's just been a running joke ever since really, that's really all there is to it. When I first started, people maybe wondered, "Is this some big named driver or higher up with a burner account?" So I was like, "Hey, maybe I should play along with that."

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There are people who know the real name, and there are people who have posted a picture with the real face on it. But if that happens, well, yeah, here: You get to learn that I'm absolutely nobody important. It gets harder and harder to maintain with every passing year.

But generally, people are good about playing along with that?

Tons of people have done that. Like, "Hey, can I get a picture and could you hold this in front of your face?" Or they'll put an emoji in front of it.

You regularly engage with drivers and big names across the sport. Is that a platform you always envisioned having with this?

No, no, no, not all, never ever once. Once I got the first driver follower - who I think was Brad Keselowski - I was here acting like the quarterback of the high school football team invited me to sit at his table.

And what's great I found is a lot of these guys are really good sports about it. A lot of these guys can take a joke, and a lot of them can give it right back to you, so that's especially what's fun about it. There's nothing better than Jamie McMurray or somebody completely puts you on blast right back to you. That's spectacular content that people love, and I'm an incredibly easy target.

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Do you get any validation when drivers or fans react and love something you've posted? Are you looking for that?

You're never really looking for it. If you're constantly seeking validation like that on Twitter, I don't know if it's necessarily the best place for that. But when it does happen, it's really really validating.

A couple years ago, Dale Jr. posted something like one of his random non sequitur tweets. He says, "Hey, whenever the Backstreet Boys' Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely is on, I turn that up." So I'm sitting there like, "He really just said that? Awesome." And because of my attention span and whatever the hell this job description is, I immediately stopped and dropped work and go into putting together a supercut of Dale Jr. performing I Want It That Way. And I put it out there, and I got a good reaction from Dale. So it's something I keep on the phone to post every now and then.

I saw the Backstreet Boys was a trending topic again (last year), so I was like, "Oh, let's put Backstreet Dale up again." And then I checked Twitter a couple minutes later, and Nick Carter has quote tweeted it. So it's little accidental things like that that are: "Oh my gosh, did you see what happened today?!"

What are some of your favorite tweets or moments on Twitter? I cracked up when I saw the Ryan Newman green screen one.

Oh yeah, that's like Christmas morning for me. It really, truly is.

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One recent one that really stands out was Dale Jr. was tweeting about how he had gotten his daughter a little Fisher-Price taco truck, and so I replied to him and said, "Hey, if you post a picture of yourself playing in a taco truck, I'll send $50 to the Dale Jr. Foundation." And he does, immediately! And it's a picture of him in the taco truck handing a taco to his daughter. And I'm like, "Hey, a deal's a deal."

And then other other people started matching it - all this money going to the Dale Jr. Foundation. And then Fisher-Price themselves said, "We want to get in on the fun, and we sent a donation also." Off this one silly idea, suddenly the foundation is getting all these donations. Stuff like that is pretty cool because you get to interact with a guy like Dale - who's just an absolute blast and the king of social media - he gets to post a really cute picture of him playing with his daughter and then his foundation gets a bunch of money out of it. It's a win-win-win thing.

Do you have a favorite driver to poke fun at or a favorite running internet joke with your audience?

There's a lot of running jokes I've completely beaten into the ground. Dale Jr.'s a lot of fun to interact with. For a little bit, I had a fake running feud with Jamie McMurray, which was a lot of fun and I'm completely trying to restart that right now that he's got a bunch of free time.

There was a picture of Kasey Kahne wearing a V-neck t-shirt that I absolutely beat into smithereens with memes. It got so old, but it was like, "I cant stop doing this!"

If NASCAR doesn't restrict you, do you have any rules for yourself?

The primary one is don't be mean. The second one is if you're thinking like, "I have a joke in my head but this feels like something that everybody else probably thought of, then do research and see if someone else posted it first."

Another one is just a personal rule I started out with: You do not ridicule, insult or be mean to other racing series. I enjoy racing as a whole, but you'll have NASCAR people complain about IndyCar people, IndyCar people complain about NASCAR people. And to me, the whole thing is just tired. And I don't like it one bit. They're all different and they all have great aspects to them.

Do you think you'll be @nascarcasm forever? Do you feel obligated to?

I would love to do it as long as I can. One of the big question marks is you can't really go to like LinkedIn and find a job description for this - nor any sort of career outlook for it - because, to be honest, I don't know what the hell this is. So that's all completely to be determined.

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