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Obama to Sponsor a Car at Pocono? No…

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Yesterday, it was announced that BAM Racing had approached the Barack Obama political camp to sponsor their car at the upcoming Pocono Race this August. SI.com originally broke this story, saying that Obama would be plastered all over the #49 car driven by Kenny Schrader. This same offer has apparently also been made to John McCain and one additional third party candidate. All of this comes in the light of International Speedway Corporation’s (ISC) latest ban on political candidates from making appearances at their tracks and campaigning. Bob Barr, apparently made a scene at Daytona last week and we all remember Rudy Giuliani’s appearance at the Daytona 500 this past February. 

As for Obama’s offer, it is ironic that both the owners of BAM Racing, Beth Ann and Tony Morgenthau, as well as Schrader are all Republicans with a long history of Republican contributions.

Has this type of activity happened before? Well, yes, in 2004, George W. Bush was featured on Kirk Shelmerdine’s car and in 2003, Bob Graham, a Democrat presidential candidate, was featured on a Craftsman Truck. This is all part of the Association for Diversity in Motorsports (AFDIM) plan to heighten the awareness of diversity, which began in 2001.  

Obama’s answer to this offer? Well, late last night, the same day as the story broke, a spokesman for the Obama camp officially said no. “NASCAR Dads” have become the new demographic replacing the previous “Soccer Moms”, and that’s not surprising when you look at the growing popularity of the sport. This should make them a very mouthwatering prospect that could end up as a very large turnout at the polls in November. 

Now I think it is safe to say that the majority of racing fans are Republicans, and I wonder if this is the primary reason for Obama’s decision to decline this opportunity, or is it due to NASCARs unfavorable, and unfortunate reputation of being redneck and anti-black. With the current landscape of NASCAR and with the latest $225 million lawsuit by Mauricia Grant, a former Nationwide Series official, who as we all know is a woman and is black, it makes me think that Obama is backing away. It could also have something to do with the fact that BAM Racing is a Toyota race shop, and that looks like he may support foreign countries more than his own.

If change is going to be his motto, and he thinks he can make “change” in the White House, then prove it by making this deal and try to “change” the opinions and minds of the people who probably differ from him the most.

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About Christopher Smith

A long time fan of NASCAR, he attended his first race as a kid in 1979 at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the World 600. Christopher watched Darrell Waltrip drive his way to victory and from that day forward hes been hooked. As president of RubbingsRacing.com, Christopher launched the site in 2000 and in the past decade, it has grown into a NASCAR-accredited web site hosting multiple podcasts, dedicated writers and race coverage at the majority of NASCAR-sanctioned events. Christopher is an official member of the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA).

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1 Comment

  1. DJ

    July 12, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    Ok, now is this NASCAR being “fan friendly” by not having any political conflicts at its tracks or ISC specifically? I have been to several races over the past where there was one politician or another, especially presidential candidates, that were touted out as grand marshals or special guests. I was even there for the 200th win of Richard Petty in Daytona in 1984 when Ronald Reagan was attendance. I have pictures somewhere of Air Force One taking off from the tarmac at the Daytona airport behind the backstretch!

    Now apparently, Brian France was shown as recently as January of this year touting Rudy Giuliani to the extent of his maximum monetary donation allowance. For the Daytona 500, Giuliani was driving around the track in a bus which had a big sign stating that “Florida is Rudy country.”

    I guess now that Rudy’s gone, all bets are off so Brian can go pout in a corner, take his tracks and go home.

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