Masters 2012: Why Did NASCAR Community Jump On Bubba Watson Bandwagon?

As Bubba Watson closed in on Sunday's emotional Masters victory, NASCAR drivers and others involved in the racing community tweeted their support for a golfer most of them have never met.

While Watson is good friends with Denny Hamlin and likes racing, many others in the NASCAR world don't know Watson personally. Yet they pulled for him as if they were longtime pals.

This type of bandwagon support is a regular occurrence in NASCAR. Just recently, University of Wisconsin basketball player Ben Brust received a flood of encouragement via Twitter for his performance in the NCAA Tournament – all because he's passionate about racing.

But what's behind all this? For those outside NASCAR, the concept of rooting for an athlete because that person likes racing might seem a little odd.

After all, it's not like Washington Redskins players take to Twitter and root for Dale Earnhardt Jr. because he's a fan of the team.

Is it a sign of NASCAR being so desperate for attention that drivers will support anyone who gives the sport some love? Is it an indication of NASCAR's insecurity about being recognized as a major sport?

The answer to both of those questions is: NO.

No matter how big NASCAR has gotten, stock car racing has always retained a community feel. If you're a NASCAR fan, you're family. It's like being part of a free club, no matter which driver you like best.

Fans who drive down the highway and see a "24" sticker on the back of a car think to themselves, "Hey! There's a NASCAR fan like me!" That the person may pull for a different driver is immaterial; what's important is the person supports racing.

It's the same thing with Watson, Brust or any other high-profile athlete who openly likes racing.

Watson is friends with Hamlin and other drivers, attends NASCAR races and shows respect and appreciation for the sport. When he recently obtained a firesuit for the General Lee (which he owns), he tweeted a video expressing his enthusiasm:

Watson is clearly a NASCAR fan. Therefore, he's automatically part of the NASCAR community.

So when he was lining up to make the winning putt on Sunday, those in the racing world weren't thinking, "I'm rooting for this guy just because he acknowledges NASCAR's existence."

They were thinking: "I'm rooting for this guy because he's one of us."

In that sense, Bubba Watson's victory on Sunday was a win the entire NASCAR family could celebrate.

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