Juan Pablo Montoya's once-insurmountable lead atop the NASCAR Twitter Rankings is gone.
Just a few months ago, Juan Pablo Montoya had roughly 58,000 more followers than Danica Patrick, the combination driver/celebrity/GoDaddy girl. Since then, Patrick has chopped Montoya's lead every month and, in the last few weeks, overcame a 13,000-follower deficit to take over the new No. 1 spot in the NASCAR Twitter Rankings.
So although Danica has only driven a few stock-car races, she's already reached the pinnacle of the NASCAR world...at least on Twitter.
Here is the full top 35 of the ever-growing list of NASCAR-related tweeters, ranked by number of followers (The rules: Only drivers, crew members, owners and wives/girlfriends/family members are eligible; drivers who have accounts in their names such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman and Sam Hornish Jr. but do not tweet for themselves are not eligible. The list does not include public relations, sponsor representatives and media).
1 (2 last month). Danica Patrick (@danicapatrick): 143,561 followers – Proving she can stack up with one of the world's best drivers in at least one category, Patrick zooms by Juan Pablo Montoya.
2 (1). Juan Pablo Montoya (@jpmontoya): 140,593 – Why did Montoya get passed? He only added 5,000 new followers this month (he once added 55,000 in a single month last year).
3 (3). Nelson Piquet Jr. (@nelsonpiquet): 116,160 – Piquet, still trying to make it in NASCAR, stalled out and was unable to pick up any ground on the leaders.
4 (5). Kevin Harvick (@kevinharvick): 38,564 – Just like at Talladega, Harvick gets this position by a nose at the finish. Battle still tight for fourth with Michael Waltrip.
5 (4). Michael Waltrip (@mw55): 38,398 – Bumped to fifth, but constant TV presence means he won't be out of anyone's mind for long.
6 (6). Kasey Kahne (@kaseykahne): 32,339 – Slowly but surely, Kahne is catching Harvick and Waltrip. He could pass them sometime this summer.
7 (7). Kenny Wallace (@kenny_wallace): 29,295 – Yes, it's true: Nearly 30,000 people follow the Hermanator for his tweets like, "Me poop in me pants."
8 (9). Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin): 27,015 – Bad knee or not, Hamlin's ticket giveaways and honest nature have made him a Twitter favorite.
9 (8). Elliott Sadler (@elliott_sadler): 26,111 – Sadler announced some great news via Twitter last month: Infant son Wyatt came home from the hospital.
10 (10). DeLana Harvick (@delanaharvick): 23,247 – Will likely fall out of the top 10 when Kyle Busch passes her next month, but remains a Twitter pioneer and the top-ranked non-driver.
11 (11). Kyle Busch (@kylebusch): 22,034 – Here comes Rowdy. With a gain of over 4,000 followers this month, he could be making a few passes into the top 10 soon.
12 (12). Jamie McMurray (@jamiemcmurray): 20,689 – Solidly in the top 12 for now. Is there a "Chase" for Twitter?
13 (13). Bobby Labonte (@bobby_labonte): 17,688 – Could get a boost if his name starts to circulate in Silly Season stories (he's a free agent).
14 (14). Ricky Carmichael
): 16,631 – Motorcycle legend is quietly ninth in Camping World Truck Series points with four straight top-15 finishes.
15 (16). Scott Speed
): 14,258 – Continues to move up the list (passing Martin Truex Jr. this month); perhaps the best example of how Twitter can give fans a window into a driver's personality.
16 (15). Martin Truex Jr. (@martintruexjr56): 12,776 – Hasn't updated regularly, so his follower count slowed down.
17 (17). Max Papis (@maxpapis): 11,988 – One of the original drivers to pick up on the Twitter trend, but Papis' new follower count slowed to about 600 this month.
18 (18). Brian Vickers (@brianlvickers): 11,579 – Many of his tweets come from Facebook, but Vickers also responds to fans via Twitter.
19 (19). Robby Gordon (@robbygordon): 10,732 – Hasn't been front and center in the spotlight lately, which could be why he added only 400 new followers this month.
20 (20). Colin Braun (@colinbraun): 8,421 – Lost his Nationwide Series ride for a couple races, and might lose his spot in the top 20 to Greg Biffle next month.
21 (22). Greg Biffle (@gbiffle): 8,072 – Hosted a 3M tweetup last month at Texas Motor Speedway.
22 (21). Krissie Newman (@krissienewman): 7,914 – Ryan Newman's wife gives regular updates about the No. 39 car.
23 (23). AJ Allmendinger (@ajdinger): 7,650 – Gained nearly 1,400 followers this month to put him within striking range of the top 20.
24 (25). Samantha Sarcinella (@samsarcinella): 6,755 – Kyle Busch's good-natured fianceé is responsive to fans, which helped her leapfrog Steve Wallace this month.
25 (24). Steve Wallace (@stevewallace66): 6,576 – Shared sad news of his beloved dog's passing with his followers.
26 (26). Brad Keselowski (@keselowski): 5,981 – Tweets are infrequent, but occasionally insightful.
27 (30). Amanda Speed (@amanda_speed): 5,838 – Mrs. Scott Speed is the rawest, realest personality on Twitter, which may help explain why she gained the most spots of anyone in the top 35 this month.
28 (27). David Ragan (@david_ragan): 5,313 – Remember the movie Kindergarten Cop? Ragan tweeted he "forgot how good of a movie that was."
29 (28). Kelly Bires (@kellybires): 4,992 – Rough month for Bires, which saw him get released from JR Motorsports, but the Twitter community was sympathetic.
30 (29). T.J. Majors (@tjmajors): 4,647 – Most of the tweets from Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s spotter and close friend are replies to fans.
31 (31). Justin Allgaier (@j_allgaier12): 4,430 – Attended his first tweetup at Talladega last month, joining fans at the Dodge display area.
32 (32). Michael McDowell (@mc_driver): 4,149 – After a solid Sprint Cup practice at Richmond that got him to 13th on the chart, McDowell tweeted, "I guess I am not a total wanker after all."
33 (33). Mike Calinoff (@mikecalinoff): 3,118 – The head of a PR/marketing firm (in addition to his spotting duties for Matt Kenseth and others), Calinoff makes a big push for his clients to tweet.
34 (not ranked). Landon Cassill (@landoncassill): 2,971 – Return to Nationwide Series helped him jump over five other tweeters to return to the top 35.
35 (35). Joe Nemechek (@frontrowjoe87): 2,865 – Gives frequent updates and follows enough fans that he barely edged out Aric Almirola for the final top 35 spot this month.
Honorable mention (other eligible Twitterers with at least 1,000 followers):
- Aric Almirola (@aric_almirola): 2,863
- Ryan Truex (@rtruex00): 2,808
- * Max Siegel (@max_siegel): 2,759
- Brad Coleman (@bradccoleman): 2,686
- Regan Smith (@regan_smith_): 2,647
- Trevor Bayne (@tbayne99): 2,120
- Ashley Allgaier (@ashleyallgaier): 2,087
- Travis Kvapil (@traviskvapil): 2,083
- Jordan Fish (@jordan_fish): 2,082
- Sherry Pollex (@sherrypollex): 2,013
- David Gilliland (@dgilliland2010): 2,005
- Mary Lou Hamlin (@11mommalou): 1,991
- Brendan Gaughan (@brendan62): 1,898
- Lynne Allmendinger (@drlynnechiro): 1,821
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (@stenhousejr): 1,688
- Brian Scott (@bscottracing): 1,592
- Joel Edmonds (@16_spotter): 1,531
- Matt Crafton (@mcraftonracing): 1,530
- Connie Montoya (@cfreydell): 1,384
- Tati Papis (@tatipapis): 1,283
- Ty Norris (@tymwr): 1,248
- James Buescher (@jamesbuescher): 1,227
- Marc Davis (@nascarmdavis): 1,207
- Rocky Ryan (@rocky_ryan): 1,116
- Jennifer Jo Cobb (@jenjocobb): 1,115
- Justin Lofton (@jlracing): 1,109
- Eddie Pardue (@eddiepardue): 1,104
- Tommy Baldwin (@tommy_baldwin): 1,012
* – Dropped out of top 35
If you know of a someone who would qualify for this list but does not appear here, please leave your comments below. Criteria: Must be an active driver, team owner, crew member, driver wife/girlfriend/family member with more than 1,000 followers.