Going after those bitter Bible totin', gun totin' clingers in Pennsylvania.
SI.com has learned that for the first time in history, a major presidential candidate may sponsor a race car in NASCAR's premier series. According to sources, Barack Obama's campaign is in talks to become the primary sponsor of BAM Racing's No. 49 Sprint Cup car for the Pocono race on August 3. Details of the agreement are expected to be worked out over the coming days.
A BAM spokesperson has revealed the team will hold a press conference July 23 in Miami to reveal the partnership, currently a proposed one-race deal with an option to continue. Obama will be at the briefing, which will be tied to the "Get Out The Vote" campaign message he spread throughout the 2008 primary season.
I certainly wish no bad luck on Ken Schrader, but...he will have to qualify and that's no sure thing:
Ken Schrader will drive the entry, a Toyota, at Pocono for BAM, which is outside the top 35 in owner points and must qualify for the race on speed. The team has run just once since Martinsville due to sponsorship concerns, and has just six top-10 finishes in 167 career starts in the Cup series dating back to '02...
I hate to say it but it would be funny if Obama sponsors the car and it fails to qualify for the race. (Again, I like Ken Schrader, I have mixed emotions here).
As a life-long race fan (I am a native Alabamian after all. My Father sponsored stock cars years ago here in Birmingham, Bobby Allison drove for him for a bit) I find Obama's obvious political play here laughable. I will give him a little advice, forget the flag pin, NASCAR fans won't be fooled. And I seriously doubt your little publicity stunt will erase this from the minds of small town Pennsylvania voters:
You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.
And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
***UPDATE July 12***
Flip Flop? Barack Obama nixes deal to sponsor car in NASCAR race in Pennsylvania (note, I did a little editing for clarity):
Barack Obama was about to be a NASCAR daddy - until he ditched.
The Democrat's presidential campaign pulled the plug late Friday night on negotiations with BAM Racing to sponsor its No. 49 car at the Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania on Aug. 3.
"The Obama campaign will not be sponsoring a car in the Sprint Cup series, though we will continue to look for ways to reach out to voters and convey Senator Obama's message of change," his spokeswoman Jen Psaki said after the deal broke down.
I must say it didn't seem to be such a good idea to begin with.