Published on May 20th, 2014 | by Michael J Smith0
Was the Sprint Fan Vote Tainted?
After the Sprint Showdown, it was revealed that little-known driver Josh Wise and his No. 98 Phil Parsons Racing team won the Sprint Fan Vote, meaning he would be the final car in the Sprint All-Star Race.
The fan vote rewards a fan favorite by allowing them to make the All-Star race when they don’t race their way in.
This year’s result was truly a surprise because fan-favorite Danica Patrick, who most assumed would win the fan vote, lost to Wise, a driver many NASCAR fans didn’t know before a fan worked through reddit to set up a page that accepted dogecoin donations to help fund the No. 98 for one race.
Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency like bitcoin. Each dogecoin is worth a fraction of a cent. Between fans and an accidental donation of 22 million dogecoins (about $15,000) from the site’s founder, the goal of 67,500,000 dogecoins was reached.
After dogecoin and Reddit appeared on the car during the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway earlier this month, Reddit’s dogecoin community developed a campaign to get Wise voted into the All-Star race.
That campaign included ads on Reddit encouraging people to vote; a live-streaming website where a person would volunteer to vote for Wise as many times as they could for a set period of time, then another person would volunteer and try to get more votes in the same amount of time; and a competition to see who could vote the most, among other tactics.
Some claim that dogecoin used bots to game the system, but dogecoin claims that because NASCAR implemented captcha, votes had to come from humans.
While I commend dogecoin for putting together a smart strategy to win the fan vote, I do feel that the vote was a little tainted. Not because of the tactics dogecoin used to win, but because a large portion of the people who were voting (I assume) were not really NASCAR fans.
That’s not to say that Wise doesn’t have fans. But no true NASCAR fan would believe that Wise has more fans than Danica Patrick — certainly not more fans who would actually vote.
By teaming up with dogecoin, Wise was able to get attention from people who are not NASCAR fans. And, I believe those fans are the reason Wise made the race and Patrick didn’t. And while that’s not necessarily against the rules, it certainly is against the spirit of the fan vote.