Earlier this year, longtime NASCAR fans experienced a bit of a culture shock when a group of fans from Reddit.com got together to pool their resources and sponsor Josh Wise's Phil Parsons Racing entry with Dogecoin livery. Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency worth a fraction of a cent, has adorned Wise's No. 98 three times already this season, with its final appearance coming up in the fall at Talladega Superspeedway.
Despite the new presence of cryptocurrency in the world of NASCAR, it was met with more head-scratching and venom than positivity and goodwill. Of course, this is cryptocurrency. It's Internet money, which is a complex and elaborate topic that goes against the grain of what longtime NASCAR fans know and understand when it comes to stock car racing.
However, the cryptocurrency movement is actually helping to reach the dream demographic Brian France still continues to fail to reach.
The publicity that was generated by Dogecoin's alliance with Wise and PPR was a dream come true for NASCAR. New fans were born, as people from all over the world tuned in to watch the No. 98 entry battle for the win at Talladega.
These fans are the antithesis of the normal NASCAR fan, as they are (mostly) young and hip, tech-savvy and ambitious, with happy-go-lucky attitudes and a thirst to learn more about what goes into putting together a Sprint Cup stock car.
After the success of the Dogecoin in NASCAR, another cryptocurrency could be gracing Sprint Cup rookie Alex Bowman's Toyota soon. Bitcoin, which has been around longer than Dogecoin, could grace Bowman's BK Racing machine in September at Atlanta, thanks to the Bitcoin23 campaign. The campaign seeks to do what Dogecoin has been doing at select events this season by educating the public and raising awareness for the cryptocurrency.
Bowman and his BK Racing crew announced their support of the Bitcoin crowdfunding effort July 24. The target number that they're hoping to raise is $100,000. If that is accomplished, then the No. 23 entry will be wrapped in Bitcoin livery for the race weekend.
Granted, Wise and Bowman haven't accomplished much in the Sprint Cup Series. They sit 36th and 35th in points, respectively. They are regarded as underdogs in the NASCAR garage, as neither driver is among the polished front-runners that fans see every race.
However, the fact that they aren't well-known has managed to help their appeal. The prospective fans who take part in their respective crowdfunding efforts see these drivers as approachable. In some cases, the fans may even see these guys as perfect fits for such crowdfunding campaigns.
On top of that, as previously mentioned, the cryptocurrency movement in NASCAR is bringing a much-needed shift to the sport's demographic. New fans are coming in and actually paying attention to the sport. This is positive publicity for once. There's no talk about the hackneyed points system or the awful schedule or what else Brian France can demolish.
Instead, there's talk among fans who come with bright eyes and who are eager to learn about a sport that they previously didn't give a second thought to. This adds another dimension to the sport, one with depth. These fans are flocking to see the fruits of their labor thanks to their crowdfunding efforts and are sticking around to feel the true NASCAR experience.
Isn't this what NASCAR wants? Maybe once it sees how the cryptocurrency movement is helping the sport, perhaps it could put it to use. Imagine buying a ticket for a race using only Dogecoin or a souvenir using Bitcoin.
As a matter of fact, maybe a crowdfunding effort for Litecoin is in order.
Follow Joseph on Twitter: @Shelton500