NASCAR drivers turning to Twitch to stream video games

By Cindy The Intern

If you follow Brad Keselowski on Twitter, you might know he likes to play video games. And if you tend to stay up late at night, you might also know that he also streams himself playing games on Twitch.

But Keselowski isn’t the only driver who streams on Twitch, the live video platform that shows video games and allows the gamer to comment while playing. Xfinity Series driver Garrett Smithley also streams.

“I actually started streaming last year on iRacing,” Smithley said via email. “I wanted to start to give my fans some more opportunities for interaction, and I thought streaming was a good platform. I noticed Brad Keselowski playing PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds), and then he started streaming. Fans started to ask if I would stream, so I tried it out and liked it.”

PUBG, released earlier this year, is a battle royale style game in which 100 players use a variety of weapons to kill other players and be the last one standing.

PUBG is by far my favorite game right now. My photographer, Danny Hanson, got me into H1Z1 (Just Survive), which is the same concept as PUBG. We had played DayZ in the past, because we loved survival-type games, but it was always slow-paced. PUBG has gotten really big really fast, and I love the direction they are taking it.”

Smithley said he plans to stream himself on iRacing again at some point, as well as Counter-Strike: Source. And on his streaming bucket list: A throwback GameCube game of some kind.

Like many gamers, Smithley has been playing as long as he can remember — dating back to messing with Tetris, golf and Super R.C. Pro-Am on his dad’s old Game Boy.

After that, he moved to PC games like G-Nome and MechWarrior 3 and stuck with PC and GameCube over Xbox and PlayStation.

Smithley doesn’t spend all his time during streams just playing games, though. The 25-year-old sees streaming as another way that he can connect with NASCAR fans, so during his streams, Smithley likes reading the chat and interacting with fan questions.

“I can’t speak for others, but for me, (streaming is) an incredible opportunity to reach out to the younger NASCAR fans,” he said. “I love video games, and streaming has become very popular with my generation. It’s a way I can spend time with fans, bring new fans in and hopefully help build a new younger fan base for NASCAR.

“I’m incredibly new to streaming, and I’m working on making the content the best and most entertaining I can make it. I have a lot of ideas for it in the future, and I hope I’m able to grow it into something really cool to go alongside my racing.”