Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Mysterious Case of

An example of the type of
graphics you'll find on

Whilst researching blog ideas a few days ago, a curious link made me do a doubletake -

I clicked instantly of course (who wouldn't?), and discovered a site devoted to bashing Carl Edwards and, more to the point, raising money to wreck him via product sales and online donations.


So, I reached out via e-mail to the site owner, and what followed was an intriguing exchange that has the suppressed Nancy Drew in me raring to solve the case of who's behind this anti-Edwards site.

Before I go further, let me state for the record that what is posted below may or not be true.  I wasn't able to verify it.  But the sheer idea of folks taking revenge on a hated driver in such a strategic way intrigued me, so here goes.

My source at claims to own the site, but wouldn't share his name because he owns other retail websites.  The attributable name he did provide was Thaddeus Van Martin, which he readily admitted is fictitious.

"I can confirm that I am not Brad Keselowski," said the fake Van Martin. "We chose because someone is trying to become the most famous face of NASCAR. I would not say we are necessarily Brad Keselowski fans."

Fake Van Martin said that he and his cohorts, who are based in the Midwest, do have some ties to NASCAR, but he would not disclose the nature of that relationship.

"We are fairly dedicated to sponsoring a start and park to hook Edwards," said fake Van Martin. "When it happens, our website name will not be on the car as we would hate to give NASCAR the ability to permanently suspend the driver or owner of the car."

When I asked how realistic such a plan was, I didn't receive an answer.  However fake Van Martin did say his site has received more than 10 thousand unique visitors since it went live on July 22.

"I am not sure what the site's future is, but right now we are focused pretty much on making fun of Carl Edwards," fakeVan Martin said.

To be honest, what intrigues me most about sites like is what this means for the intersection of sport and technology.

Not that long ago, the only way to show your disdain for a particular driver was to boo him at driver intros or give him the one-finger salute if you glimpsed him in the garage. Now that's all changed. Fans can instantaneously voice their disdain via a blog post or Tweet.  And, don't forget the Facebook hate pages and myriad message boards.

However, a concentrated effort to wreck a driver takes things to a whole new level.

So here's something to ponder while we talk about secret NASCAR penalties.

Is this type of site just the beginning of fans taking matters into their own hands?  And say does manage to sponsor an Edwards-hunting start and parker - how would NASCAR police that?

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