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Nascar, Twitter Turn Hashtags Into Pit Stops

Part of larger effort to tie social and sports

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The hashtag’s basic function is to serve as a content filter on Twitter. While useful, hashtags can also be uninspired. So Twitter is converting the hashtag into a content destination in its own right through a unique partnership with Nascar announced Friday.

Starting with the Pocono 400 the weekend of June 10, consumers who click on the #Nascar hashtag will be directed to a not-yet-live Twitter page that will aggregate tweets and photos related to the race to create what Nascar svp and CMO Steve Phelps called in a statement a “complementary live race experience.”

“When sports fans around the world see a hashtag displayed on the air during a game or race, that’s a signal to them that there is a bigger conversation happening on Twitter,” said Twitter CEO Dick Costolo in a statement. “Between the talented Nascar personalities on Twitter and the fact that they have some of the most loyal fans in the world of sports, they were a natural choice to partner with as we experiment with ways to create the best experience on Twitter during a big event.”

Up until now when users click on a hashtag, they are shown a page littered with tweets which have included that particular hashtag. But in Nascar’s case, Twitter will curate those tweets through an algorithm, and by hand to give users a behind-the-scenes look at the race.

The partnership appears to be part of a broader initiative by Twitter to take channel sports fans heavy usage of the platform during live games. Earlier this week Twitter announced a partnership with ESPN to launch during the NBA Finals that will have users tweeting their game faces with the #gameface hashtag.