NASCAR boss Brian France has endorsed Donald Trump, a move that the outspoken Republican candidate believes will guarantee him the election, MSN is reporting.
Speaking at a Trump rally in Valdosta, Georgia, Monday night – a rally which, incidentally, several black students claim they were banned from entering, according to this Inquisitr report – the NASCAR head said that he knows a winner when he sees one, and Trump is a winner.
“I’m going to tell you one thing: You know about his winning and success. He wins with his family. Any of his children, you’d be proud to have in your family. That’s how I judge a winner.”
“If the people that like and watch NASCAR vote for Donald Trump, they can cancel the election right now. Nobody can win.”
Brian France is not the only person associated with NASCAR who has thrown their hat in with Trump: at Monday’s rally, NASCAR drivers past and present, including legendary driver Bill Elliott, his up-and-coming son Chase Elliott, and current drivers Ryan Newman, and David Lee Regan, showed up to support The Donald, according to Yahoo Sports.
— XFINITY Racing (@XFINITYRacing) March 1, 2016
France’s endorsement of Trump marks a stark departure from the way things looked even a few months ago. Back in July 2015, after Trump made controversial statements regarding Mexican immigrants, several organizations with ties to Trump distanced themselves from the outspoken candidate. One such organization was NASCAR: the organization announced that it would not hold its Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series banquets at a Trump-owned facility after Trump’s comments.
It’s also an uncomfortable mixing of sports and politics, says Yahoo Sports writer Dan Wetzel.
“NASCAR, and sports in general, were reminded of the dangers of wading into impassioned waters of the political world, where supporting anyone is sure to anger someone.”
As an example, Wetzel pointed back to last summer, when NASCAR cut ties with Trump, however briefly, by refusing to host a couple of banquets at Trump-owned facilities. “NASCAR was bashed for being politically correct,” Wetzel says, “while others saw it as a reasonable and appropriate decision.”
Not for nothing, Trump, ever the braggart, laughed off the whole affair, saying he was keeping the “very substantial deposits” made by NASCAR, as well as renting the facilities to someone else, doubling his money.
One person with ties to NASCAR who is decidedly not happy about Brian France’s endorsement of Trump is Marcus Lemonis, Lebanon-born CEO of Camping World, a longtime sponsor of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
“There is no place for politics/any political endorsements in any business.”
While musicians and, especially, TV and movie personalities, are often quick to endorse political candidates openly and in front of anyone who will listen, the sports world has generally been more guarded when it comes to politics. In 1992, for example, Michael Jordan – then at the height of his career as both a Chicago Bulls shooting guard and a Nike spokesman – politely declined to support a North Carolina Senate candidate -a Democrat – who asked for his endorsement, saying “Republicans buy shoes too.”
Still, that doesn’t mean that sports, as a rule, are devoid of politics. NFL owners routinely donate to Republicans, and more than a few athletes have spoken their minds about politicians and political causes.
For his part, Briance France was quick to point out that his endorsement of Donald Trump is a personal one, and it does not mean that NASCAR, as an organization, is endorsing Trump.
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]