NASCAR Social Media Driver Puts the Pedal to the Mettle

If you enjoy NASCAR’s lighthearted yet informative presence on social media—think Kevin Harvick trying to make sense of his car’s millennial paint job—you can thank Tyson Winter, class of 2011 (journalism: public relations). 

While taking Senior Instructor Kelli Matthews’ Principles of Public Relations class, Winter realized he could make a career out of helping athletes and sports leagues promote themselves on social media. 

Winter worked at the Pac-12 Network, where he coined the viral hashtag #Pac12AfterDark to describe the conference’s wild football games, typically played well after East Coast fans had gone to bed. After a stint at Fox Sports, he moved to North Carolina to work for NASCAR, where he is now the company’s social media strategy manager.

With only drivers and crew allowed at the racetracks this season due to the pandemic, Winter covers the action from the comfort of his apartment in Charlotte.

That’s quite a change from his past race week routine, during which he was typically onsite posting content showing the personality of each racetrack and spending time with fans. During races, he historically shot footage on his mobile phone for instant posting, and on a camera for higher-quality photos that he edited and posted later.

“Sports fans aren’t just into the highlights of the race,” Winter says. “They’re into the mystique of what makes each event interesting. The more I can do to bring that flavor to our social channels, the better.” 

–By Damian Foley, University Communications.