Yesterday, the Dogecar, a dogecoin and reddit-sponsored NASCAR car, placed 20th of 43 in Aaron's 499, a NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. The dogecoin community that crowdfunded the car's paint job and Wise's entry to the race watched eagerly. Simultaneously, they updated live commentaries to the /r/dogecoin subreddit.
If you don't already know what dogecoin is, then it's likely you're avoiding it. Sure, it's a six-month-old cryptocurrency based on a shiba inu, but by the grace of its charitable and outgoing community, dogecoin has appeared in so many places in the past six months, that you're of another world if you haven't at least heard the word, or seen the shiba's face.
Alexis Ohanian of reddit, as well as some devoted dogecoin enthusiasts and tech journalists made the pilgrimage to Alabama to see the Dogecar in action.
After a long night of being out, I woke up and went to shake a journalist friend sleeping on my couch, "The Dogecar is on in a half hour!" Another friend sent a text saying he was headed to a Dogecar viewing party in midtown Manhattan. As enticing as watching the race in a pub full of NYC dogephiles sounded, I chose my couch, where sat and ate an entire pizza before the race had even begun.
I wasn't merely being a slob, I actually stayed home for a couple of defensible reasons:
- In celebration of the cultural convergance of shibes (members of the dogecoin community) and NASCAR fans, I felt like taking the less familiar perspective of the latter. Besides, I've gotten out of hand with the doge people before.
- This might sound lame, but I'm not one to pass up a live-gif opportunity like a dogecar race. Also, having mostly live-giffed political debates and space events, I felt like finally tapping into sports gif-making, despite Deadspin and SB Nation already having it well-covered. But for me, refraining from making sports gifs would, at some point, feel akin to strictly playing classical piano, and never jazz.
I was expecting the national anthem when—oh yeah, NASCAR people talk to Jesus first, which makes sense because people do die at NASCAR events.
Josh Wise, in the gloriously painted dogecar, started in 36th position, next to Greg Biffle, whose 3M-branded car sat in 35th. Biffle dominated the race day, and led 58 of the race's 188 massive laps. (Talladega is NASCAR's largest oval at 2.66 miles.) Biffle would eventually finish in 2nd place.
But the dogecar, quickly labeled 'underdoge,' showed very heart. Wise passed Danica Patrick's slime green GoDaddy car:
Wise steadily worked up the ranks on the outside of the track while skillfully dodging (or should we say doge-ing?) numerous accidents:
Minutes after "the big one," which is NASCAR talk for a game-changing wreck, the dogecar wasted no time in necking its way up from 14th to 7th place:
Nearing the last minutes of the race, the dogecar briefly flirted with 4th place:
At one point, a glimpse through the dash-mounted camera on another driver's car revealed a view that dogecar fans had only dreamt of previously:
A shiba inu's face, staring down the driver behind it with that trollish expression, while melting rubber at 200 miles per hour. After watching the phenomena of the dogecar's paint job come to life, viewers speculated that the doge face might have influenced the race's wrecks, and that it could have cued animal-loving drivers like Dale Earnhardt, Jr., to give the adorable little face a greater buffer.
Outside of speculation, the shiba's face invariably brought new viewers to NASCAR, got one of NASCAR's announcers to Google 'dogecoin,' and drew a number of curious NASCAR viewers into what is the most fun cryptocurrency community around.
Daniel Stuckey is the editor-in-chief of 'The Shibe Times,' a financial and cultural publication that covers dogecoin news, initiates and supports select efforts of the dogecoin community.