Meet Tweet Crew member Randy Martin


Hundreds entered, but only three NASCAR fans were chosen for the first ever Tweet Crew developed by Best Western and Michael Waltrip Racing.

Randy Martin of Worcester, Mass., Nancy Ellen Mills of Memphis, Tenn., and yours truly will trek to Phoenix for the experience of a lifetime: to work as Twitter correspondents for MWR driver David Reutimann during Saturday’s Subway Fresh Fit 600. We will follow the driver of the No. 00 at Phoenix International Raceway and share a behind-the-scenes look with NASCAR fans on the social networking site Twitter. The three of us will be provided with smartphones in order to tweet the latest updates and photos from the track.

Martin, Mills and myself already knew each other from Twitter, but we will meet for the first time Thursday in Phoenix. To find out more about my Tweet Crew teammates, I decided to interview them for Skirts and Scuffs.

In this post, Martin talks about being a Michael Waltrip fan, how he first heard of Twitter and what he thinks helped him stand out among the pool of fans aspiring to be on the Tweet Crew.

Randy Martin has been a NASCAR fan for as long as he can remember.

“I can remember waiting to watch NASCAR on Wide World of Sports in the early ’70s and not understanding why it was not on every week,” Martin, 42, said.

RandyMikeyA retired truck driver, Martin is a stay-at-home father, homemaker, Webmaster and moderates some online groups. He describes himself as having “always rooted for the underdogs,” including his No. 1 driver, Michael Waltrip. Other drivers he counts as favorites are Ken Shrader and Kenny Wallace.

A big part of what Best Western and Michael Waltrip Racing were looking for in deciding the winners of the Tweet Crew contest was familiarity with Twitter. With this in mind, I asked Martin why he joined the growing social network. He said he learned about Twitter after hearing Waltrip and Kyle Petty talk about the site on TV.

“Blame @mw55 and @kylepetty, they kept mentioning Twitter on TV so I had to check it out,” he said, referring to both drivers’ Twitter names. The Massachusetts resident joined the site in July 2009.

“What sold me was that I tweeted @kylepetty a question and he replied both on air and by tweet from the TNT booth during a race. This happened about three times during that race and I was a Twitter fan for life,” Martin said. Through Twitter, Martin has been able to interact with various personalities throughout the sport, such as Waltrip, Petty, Scott Speed and more.

When Martin heard about the Tweet Crew contest, he applied to be a part of the team but admitted he never thought he’d be chosen.

“I have always been a MW fan, and have transferred a lot of that love to Reuti, (Michael) McDowell, Tazzy (Marcos Ambrose) and now MT (Martin Truxe Jr.) the last couple years. I really never dreamed I had a chance of making the team. I was tweeting about it and promoting it just because I support MWR and thought it was a great promotion,” he said.

Martin also chatted regularly with the BestWestern public relations team and Michael Waltrip Racing on Twitter, which may have helped distinguish him from the crowded field.

randyracingchef“I've gotten to ‘know’ the @TheBestWestern PR team because of their Tuesday Tweet Trivia. Having been a truck driver for 20 years, I know where everything is and have seen most of it, so got the right answer about every week. I stayed up tweeting the @MWRTeam crew all night when they drove home from Daytona because there was no more room on the MWAir plane to Charlotte. I think my sarcasm is what got me noticed,” Martin said.

As a member of the Tweet Crew, Martin is especially looking forward to the opportunity to be part of a NASCAR team.

“This contest was free. We have paid the $100 per ticket to enter similar contests in the past by other teams for a chance to be in the pits with them during the race. With Tweet Crew, we are not just in the pits during the race, we are with the team all weekend,” said Martin, who will be making his first visit to Phoenix International Raceway.

In an amazing coincidence, the announcement of the Tweet Crew winners and the trip to Phoenix Raceway coincided with Martin winning a trip to another NASCAR track, Martinsville, for its spring race weekend. The contest was conducted by and Martinsville Speedway.

“Everybody who enjoyed all my pics and comments from Martinsville, I beg you to thank Chris (Smith from) @Rubbings and Mike (Smith from) @MS1947 for giving me the opportunity to do it,” Martin said. He invites NASCAR fans to listen to him talk about his adventure at Martinsville on a future episode of the podcast.

Martin hopes after Phoenix, the Tweet Crew becomes a regular fixture in the sport.

“Who knows, if enough people like what we do, NASCAR might actually form a ‘real’ tweet crew as part of their citizen journalist program (here's hoping).”

Follow Martin at @RLDreams on Twitter for updates from Phoenix International Raceway this weekend.


Photos courtesy of Randy Martin during the Martinsville race weekend in March. Top: Martin sits by Martin Truex Jr.’s pit area. Right: Martin with the man himself, Michael Waltrip. Left: Martin with Nicky Morse, aka “The Racing Chef.”

Meet Tweet Crew member Randy Martin Meet Tweet Crew member Randy Martin Reviewed by Rebecca Kivak on Wednesday, April 07, 2010 Rating: 5