Reddit, Dogecoin support NASCAR racer at Talladega
By Larry Frum, Special to CNN
April 24, 2014 — Updated 1951 GMT (0351 HKT) | Filed under: Web
(CNN) — What do you get when you combine a cryptocurrency, 752 left turns and a 16-year-old Reddit user? For NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Josh Wise, it all adds up to sponsorship for one of the most exciting races of the year and a new bunch of tech-savvy fans.
The story begins with a teenage racing fan from Niles, Illinois. Reddit user Denis Pavel was watching some of the early races in the 2014 NASCAR season and noticed a black Ford Fusion with no sponsorship and a driver “racing the wheels off the car.”
Introduced in late 2013 and named for a silly Internet meme, Dogecoin is digital currency like Bitcoin — basically cash for the Internet. Money can be transferred nearly anywhere in the world for less than a penny per transaction and has been used prominently for charitable and notable causes.
“I asked if he knew about Reddit or Dogecoin. He said no,” Pavel said. “He told me the pricing of a full wrap and just a logo on the quarter panel. I don’t know if he thought I was pulling his leg.”
Parsons told Pavel that a full wrap, meaning main sponsorship all over the car, would cost $50,000. Pavel felt confident the /r/NASCAR community would get there with the help of Dogecoin.
Within a week, the community raised more than $55,000, or 67 million Dogecoins, to sponsor the car and put the Dogecoin Ford Fusion in the Aaron’s 499 race in May.
Wise, who admits he had not been very active on the Internet, has been pumped up by the online support.
“The more we’ve walked through this (fundraising effort), it has really been special to us,” Wise said. “People are noticing our effort. We’re a tiny little team with 7 or 8 employees. The amount of support we’re getting from the Reddit community … we’re just trying to do the best job we can.”
For his part, Wise promoted the effort on Twitter and also did an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on /r/dogecoin. He even claimed the Reddit user name “dogedriver” to keep the momentum going.
Ben Doernberg, a board member at the Dogecoin Foundation, said that raising the money for the sponsorship was done in record time. Beyond sports ventures, Dogecoin has raised money to build clean water wells in Kenya and for a charity that trains service animals to work with children with autism and other disabilities.
The car and suits prominently feature the Shiba Inu dog face commonly associated with the “doge” Internet meme, along with a rocket ship and the phrase “To the Moon,” commonly used for the popularity of Dogecoin.
The Dogecoin car is also likely to be made into a die-cast 1:24 scale car as part of a NASCAR deal with Lionel Racing Collectibles. Fans of the NASCAR ’14 video game will also get the chance to race the Dogecoin car for themselves when it is added in an upcoming DLC pack.
“As the company behind the NASCAR video games and mobile games, we love to see more technology-oriented partners getting involved in NASCAR,” said Ed Martin, executive vice president of Eutechnyx, developer of the video game. “I think it will bring NASCAR to the attention of a lot of people that haven’t been exposed before.”
For now, Pavel will cheer on the No. 98 Dogecar and Josh Wise at Talladega on May 4.
Alexis Ohanian, reddit’s cofounder, has voiced his support on twitter: