NASCAR has revealed activities they have planned for the 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup.
After Richmond, the Chase will get underway in ten-week fight for the Sprint Cup championship. The 2014 format has carried over with no changes - 16 drivers will be trying to escape elimination in the first three rounds before the final showdown at Homestead with just four drivers left to fight for the crown.
NASCAR's David Higdon, Steve Phelps and Jill Gregory spoke about the plans they have to promote this year's postseason and to further engage the fans.
Building on 2014 battle of nations campaign
"We're obviously very excited about heading into the 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup," said Phelps. "The format itself worked extremely well. I think everyone here felt good about how things played out - the drama and the excitement around the Chase, citing the 'significant increases' in interest from fans and the larger social media footprint of the 2014 postseason."
Just as they did in 2014, NASCAR is promoting the Chase contenders through the battle of nations campaign, building and expanding on what they did last season.
"This year, we're able to get the drivers involved in the development of their flags, their hashtags and hopefully that will really help their fans to activate against the battle of nations campaign," explained Gregory. "What we're doing this year is really trying a way for fans to tangibly engage.
Getting the fans involved
"As the drivers and teams go into battle, we want the fans to feel like they're going into battle as well and that they've got some skin in the game." Two of the things they have planned to increase fan involvement are the Fan Index and the new Join the Battle app, available for Apple products and Androids.
As for the Fan Index, USA Today will aggregate the social activity of fans and at the end of each week, one driver's 'nation' will be named victorious depending on the social media footprint left by their supporters. There will also be a winning driver at the conclusion of the Chase.
Inside the app, which launches Sunday, there are two main features. Fans can take the flag of their favorite driver (that the driver/team designed) and put their picture on it, which they can use as a social media profile photo. The second aspect of the app is a game similar to a Magic 8 Ball known as the Chase Predictor.
"This will be a fun and engaging way to engage new fans, casual fans and probably some younger fans too."
NASCAR, Sprint and NBC will run television ads throughout the Chase, going with the nation themes and urging fans to 'join the battle.' The following are two commercials already released, titled 'Pledge' and 'Team.'
"One of the key things we're doing this year through out partnership with (NBC) is having the ability to run our Chase creative, not just in-race but outside of races which is really important for us as we try to reach the casual fan," Gregory revealed.
NBC will also host a Perfect Grid Challenge with $16 million dollars on the line, which Phelps said will be similar to the one NASCAR.com created in 2014.
NASCAR.com is going to be dedicating a page called the Chase Hub, which will serve as a place where people can find out all the information they need about the rounds, drivers, and current points situation during the 10-week Chase for the Sprint Cup.