While Landon Cassill hasn’t had a ride materialize in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2020, and his ride with the underdog Shepherd Racing Ventures No. 89 team is on hold in the NASCAR Xfinity Series until teams are allowed to qualify — qualifying has been scrapped for every Xfinity Series event since returning from COVID-19 — he has been keeping his skills sharp and his fans entertained by streaming his adventures on iRacing by way of Twitch.
Now, the Iowa-native’s virtual racing community is looking to field him a top-tier ride for a race in either the Xfinity Series or NASCAR Cup Series.
Crowdfunding with Twitch Bits.
“A lot of the things on Twitch that I do, comes from my viewers and their idea of what they want to see on the channel,” Cassill said in an interview with TobyChristie.com. “At one point, during a stream somebody said how many Twitch Bits it would take to do a stream sponsored car, where they raise the money themselves to put their own paint scheme on the car or for them to sponsor the car. So, I threw up a goal and that’s what they’ve been going after.”
What is a Twitch Bit?
It’s a digital token of sorts that you can send to your favorite Twitch streamer. Each Twitch Bit has actual monetary value, so each time you virtually applaud a streamer by sending a Twitch Bit, you’re sending actual real money to that Twitch streamer.
“Cheering on Twitch for the viewers is kind of a way to support the channel and show the other viewers that you’re supporting the channel whenever the streamer does something good, that’s why they call it cheering,” Cassill explained. “It’s kind of like giving a tip or something like that on Reddit or other social media platforms.”
When the Coronavirus pandemic brought NASCAR to a standstill, the sport turned to iRacing to give the fan base a touch of normalcy during unprecedented times. As Cassill participated in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, he received a lot of support from Blue-Emu.
Within weeks, Cassill’s backdrop on his stream went from an unfinished basement, to a beautiful iRacing sim space decked out in Blue-Emu logos. Fast forward to the here and now, if Cassill’s group of followers on Twitch can reach their goal of 5-million Twitch Bits, Blue-Emu is ready to match the donation.
5-million Twitch Bits seems like a large number, what does that actually equate to in real-world money for Cassill?
“I’m not exactly sure, it’s maybe about $60,000,” Cassill estimated. “If you’re trying to get into a competitive Xfinity or Cup car nowadays, you have to have about $120-125,000. So, that’s at least the stream putting up half of it.”
What sets Cassill’s crowdfunding apart from the standard give me your money and I’ll put your name on my car NASCAR fan car campaign is the interaction. As Cassill and the community of viewers press on toward their goal, the subscribers and viewers are sitting right in the passenger seat with the 30-year old race car driver the whole way.
“Yeah, it is a lot of fun,” Cassill said of interacting with his viewers. “I feel it’s a lot like hanging out with friends. You know? The difference is, you’re hanging out with friends that want to hang out with you, it’s not a bunch of people at a bar that I want to get away from. I’m hanging out with people who want to be there. We talk and interact. And generate honestly real relationships out of it — real friendships. I get to know a lot of the people. There are thousands of people when it comes to unique viewership every single night on my stream.”
Cassill continued by saying, “It really turns into a community, it’s not just a one-dimensional piece of content, where I’m just posting a video and everybody has to watch it. The interaction is what really makes it special.”
When the goal is reached, Cassill has many teams in mind that he would like to drive for, but he’s keeping an open mind as to who will be the perfect fit.
“At this point I want to drive for a team that does a good job for me and my sponsor and puts me in a position to win on the race track,” the journeyman driver said. “I have driven a Chevy for most of my career, so I’d like to drive a Chevy, but I’ve had good relationships with all of the manufacturers. It just depends on where the best opportunity is and who would be the best to work with.”
So, let’s say you want to support Cassill getting a top-tier ride for a race, but you’re not financially in a position to donate Twitch Bits to the effort. Don’t worry, Cassill says there are plenty of ways to help him on the path to 5-million Twitch Bits.
“Just interact if you see us on Twitter or social media or on Twitch,” Cassill said. “Just comment. Be a part of the community. You don’t have to donate, you don’t have to contribute. Giving Blue-Emu some attention, they’ve been a big part of what I’ve been doing lately. Give them some love, they’re a huge supporter of NASCAR, an official partner.”
If you’re looking for a big iRacing event, Cassill and fellow NASCAR driver Parker Kligerman have partnered together in an effort to promote huge events on iRacing. Their next big event will be a 1987 edition of the Firecracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway using iRacing’s new 1987 Chevrolet Monte Carlo and Ford Thunderbird.
The event, which will pay $10,000 in purse money, will have hundreds of drivers whittled down to a 43-driver starting field.
“We have come up with a format that’s going to allow us to narrow down hundreds of cars to a field of 43 to go for it,” Cassill said. “Similar to a Chili Bowl, that’s a lot of where the format comes from. The racers will have to go through prelim races, qualifying and that’s how the field will be set.”
Although, Cassill will not compete in the event, the full three weeks of preliminary races, qualifying and the big final Firecracker 400 event will be available on Cassill’s Twitch stream, as well as other platforms. Prelim races will run beginning on June 18th, and the festivities conclude with the big-money Firecracker 400 on Wednesday, July 1st.
According to Cassill, “It’s going to be a lot of content, it will be streamed on Twitch. We’ve got a lot of historical elements that we are going to add to the broadcast. It’s going to be something unlike you’ve ever seen on iRacing.”
As of the publishing of this story, Cassill has racked up 346,116 Twitch Bits of the 5-million goal. That puts him around 6.8-percent of the way to the goal of competing in a real-world NASCAR race in a top-tier ride.
If you would like to follow Cassill’s journey to 5-million Twitch Bits and become a part of his quickly growing stream community, follow the driver on Twitch at twitch.tv/landoncassill also give him a follow on Twitter as well @landoncassill.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.