As Barack Obama continues his focus on states that usually vote Republican in presidential elections, he may become the first Democratic presidential nominee to attend a NASCAR stock car race in 16 years, his campaign said today though no dates or firm confirmations were offered.

So why would Obama be doing this? Well according to this article, Obama is specifically targeting white working-class voters because he seriously needs them in the fall to win. What better way to find upwards to 100,000 white working-class voters, together at one time, then a Nascar event?

Well Bill Clinton tried that as a strategy in September 1992, campaigning at the Southern 500 Stock Car race in Darlington, S.C., but he drew jeers and catcalls and insults about his lack of Vietnam War service. That was the year the great Richard Petty was retiring, and the staunch Republican and racing icon told track officials he wouldn’t drive the pace car — part of his retirement-year sendoff — if Clinton was in the parade. Clinton lost South Carolina by 8 points.

Nascar is definately a force. It holds 17 of the top 20 attended sporting events in the U.S., and has 75 million fans who purchase over $3 billion in annual licensed product sales.

But NASCAR is generally a conservative crowd and proud of it. Nowhere is it more evident than in the sport’s financial support of political candidates. Almost 90 percent of the checks written by those affiliated with NASCAR flow to Republican candidates. It’s Republican affiliation runs far deeper than money, however. It is also deeply connected by traditional values. It’s a sport where drivers often follow their dads or brothers behind the wheel and it’s the regulations themselves, that control their lifestyles.

Will Barack Obama visit a Nascar event or is this just a campaign teaser? Note to Team Obama: the Sprint Cup Series hits the Chicagoland Speedway next weekend then later in the month races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

If he does make an appearance, will he receive the rock star treatment like he’s received in so many other places? Or will it be his “Dukakis Moment“?





NASCAR Video
“Danica Patrick Wins!”