A CONVERSATION WITH THE ORANGE CONE
By Zach Tasker
Just after the Christmas holiday I had a chance to be at the annual Rumble in Fort Wayne midget races. You never know who will show up to the 1/6 mile paved indoor oval in Northeastern Indiana. There were many high profile IndyCar personalities in attendance but one surprise was that of the Orange Cone. For those who are uninitiated @TheOrangeCone on twitter is a popular social media personality who many NASCAR, IndyCar, USAC and other drivers will follow or retweet. He usually posts many satirical and funny tweets based on his observations of the races that are going on.
The Orange Cone also has to deal with cars running over him at the entrance to pit lane race after race “I tell them to bring it on, there is no place I would rather be than pit entrance and they haven’t put me out of commission yet so I continually challenge them to do so and they continually fail.Kyle Busch is a big cone hater and that is ok. Most of the time the feeling is somewhat mutual. I have many pictures of Kyle hitting me in action. I think he would like to silence the cone if he could but that will never happen and he knows it. I challenge him to try to silence the cone, but its all in good fun. Kurt (Busch) has actually run me over a few times as well but Kurt and I are pretty cool. I think there are drivers like JJ Yeley who like to intentionally hit me. JJ just does it for the attention because he knows its going to get him on TV and right now that’s the only way that is going to happen. I think that’s what , I try not to say this too much, because it makes me sound like an ego maniac but its true. If you hit the cone you get on TV and I will make you famous.”
In all seriousness the Orange Cone was happy to be back at the Rumble as that is where he got his start in the racing world. “Many people don’t know this but this is where I got my first professional gig is right here at the Rumble Series back in 2005. I was here with a couple of friends , they were calling the races for the fans over in turns 3 and 4 in the grandstand down there. Whenever some trouble erupted on the racetrack a driver got taken to the infield care center and I was the man, the cone I should say manning the infield care center for their broadcast so back then this was my first gig and it was such a hit that I started a myspace page and myspace went away so I kind of laid low for a while but when Twitter came around I figured I finally found my voice and low and behold here we are every week.”
Mr. Cone feels honored to be able to have such a popular Twitter personality “I love that the drivers do participate, and its not just the NASCAR drivers, IndyCar drivers, open wheel drivers, short track drivers. I love that interaction with them. I was very honored as matter of fact that Dale Earnhardt Jr. followed me for a matter of about 7 days. I checked about 4-5 times a day, and there was a day, probably the 7th or 8th day that I checked first thing in the morning and he was still following ,and lunch time he was still following and by dinner time he had shuffled off and unfollowed me. But I do tweet a lot and I fill up peoples timelines. I do tend to make a few Dale Jr. jokes from time to time but Tony Stewart still follows so I will reach around, if I had arms I would reach around and pat myself on the back for that one. That is probably my most proud moment is when someone of that caliber follows me.”
His most popular tweeting moment comes because of an honest answer from 3 time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart. “I asked the drivers about pit lizards, and I sent it out to every driver, I said what it is with you and pit lizards. And everyone knows what a pit lizard is and Tony responded right away and said sometimes it’s just hard to say no. I probably got more feedback off of that one tweet than just about any other one that I have gotten.”
Although Orange Cone has many great memories in racing, there is one that tops the list. “It would be hard to pick out one favorite memory, but my favorite thing about being the orange cone is just interacting with people, there was a time when I was walking down pit road at Michigan International Speedway prior to a NASCAR race there and I saw a young man who had left outside of the ropes for the spectators and he was over taking a picture of the orange cone. I called him over and I said man what are you doing taking a picture of a cone, that is the dumbest thing Ive ever seen. He said well its really stupid and you probably wont even understand it but there is this twitter account called the orange cone and I was going to take this picture and send it to him. I said well, can I tell you a secret, and I flipped on the phone and I went to my twitter page and I said you are talking to the orange cone. He about lost his mind, he said oh my god this is the greatest thing ever and its things like that. Running into people that ordinaly that would not get that type of enjoyment. Its making people laugh, making people smile. Its great being with race fans and I get to do some pretty cool things as a result because of it. Its not bad being me. I have to say that.”