Ladies and gentlemen"¦.start your engines. These famous words of racing will kick off the Nascar Sprint Cup Series at the 50th running of the Daytona 500 this Sunday at 2pm EST. 168,000 screaming spectators will emerge from Nascar hibernation, which commenced at the Homestead-Miami Speedway last November, to fill the stands of the 2.5 mile tri-oval race track. With Nascar’s growing popularity, Compete used its panel of 2 million people to gauge fan excitement, and answer some burning questions before the 2008 season begins.
We first rev up the engine with the typical unique visitor increase in January; excitement sets in as February nears. The number of unique visitors to Nascar.com increased 25% month-over-month to 2.2 million visitors. However, what’s more surprising is that visitation was down 14% year-over-year. This means Nascar.com needs to floor it to reach last February’s calendar year high of 5.3 million visitors.
Going into Daytona, we next wanted to determine which driver would sit on the pole position based on the number of visitors viewing driver-specific information on Nascar.com. "Boogity Boogity Boogity"¦let’s go racing"
- As we work our way around the track, we find 7 cars swappin’ paint in 5.5 to 7 thousand visitor turn. Rubbin’ is racing ya’ll, but keep it clean
- Beginning to pull away from the pack at 8 thousand visitors, Kyle Busch is holding steady in the M&M sponsored Toyota
- Just ahead of Busch, the Chevrolets of Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin (sorry Aric, Mark has seniority) are running strong between the 10 to 16 thousand visitor mark
- Behind our leader, we find Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne working together to track down Tony Stewart‘s Home Depot car who is taking the high line in the 27 thousand visitor turn
- And nearly lapping all of the competitors is our leader and pole position winner is Dale Earnhardt, Jr. with a whopping 64,000 visitors
While Jr. is certainly enjoying his lead how are Nascar sponsors performing before spending $550,000 on a 30-second spot for this Sunday’s race? Let’s take a look at which sponsor websites are naturally attracting more Nascar Enthusiasts today.
Using Compete’s Behavior Match, an online media planning tool, we created a custom segment of Nascar Enthusiasts and gathered all the websites they visited in January 2008. We then scored this segment against the total internet browsing population to determine the top-10 major car sponsor sites (think big stickers) that Nascar Enthusiasts visit more often than the average internet browser. As of January, Kasey Kahne’s Dodge Budweiser sits atop the sponsor leader board — read as Nascar Enthusiasts are 7 times more likely to visit Budweiser.com.
We’ve dropped the green and we know which drivers and sponsors are getting initial traction. But Nascar is a long season and anything can happen – we’ll have to keep an eye out to see who takes the checkered"¦