NASCAR and Politics: Turning Left But Thinking Right.

Kara MartinSenior Analyst IJanuary 20, 2009

Was our former President Bush a true NASCAR fan? He did attend a Daytona 500 or two, but who's to really say if it was out of love for the sport or if it was simply to appease the "NASCAR Dads" as part of his showing face presidential duties?

Will newly elected Obama make that same journey to Daytona? Too earlier to speculate at this point, but it would certainly add credence to the NASCAR diversity program. I for one would love to clink a can of High Life with Mr. Obama from the stands of the front stretch!

As a transplanted Washingtonian, I've made the drive down I-95 to Richmond International Raceway too many times to count, you could say that I am a bit of an expert. That being said, Mr. President, if the NASCAR bug bites, I'd be happy to to be your personal guide and show you the ropes. Richmond is an easy drive from the White House, we could make good time with your motorcade. I'm on the way, just pull up and honk, I'll meet you out front!

Today's historic inauguration brings hope for so many in our country. The tough economy has hit all of us hard, just look at the impact that it has already had on a NASCAR season that has yet to begin. As we look to the future, we all pray that the new administration will bring good fortune and the promised "change" that is so desperately needed.

The "Big Three" have suffered terribly over the past few months, but one in particular may be able to sleep a little better at night starting the 2009 season during a Inaugural year.

General Motors drivers in the modern era have won the Cup Series title each year in which the United States has had a Presidential Inauguration address.

2005: Tony Stewart
2001: Jeff Gordon
1997: Jeff Gordon
1993: Dale Earnhardt

Sounds like good news for the Bowtie Brigade!

While on the subject of politics, in 2007 Sports Illustrated took a private survey of NASCAR drivers asking what their views were. Not a single driver admitted to being a democrat! NASCAR fans tend to follow suit.

Republican 59 percent
Independent 18 percent
Democrat 0 percent

Why do NASCAR fans tend to lean to the right? There are many different theories out there.

Those fans who support Republican candidates do so based on two main issues: abortion and gay rights.  In other words, they are interested in candidates who are generally anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage.  Additionally, a couple of those people also care a great deal about gun rights, the death penalty, and affirmative action, and would consider voting Republican on these issues.

The "fan loyalty" theory suggests that fans support the Republican party because there favorite drivers do. Fans are extremely loyal to their favorite driver, the Republican party may just be the the largest sponsor of all to the NASCAR community.

The "Hollywood" theory proposes that NASCAR fans equate Democratic candidates with the Hollywood type and do not want to be associated with those perceived ideals. NASCAR fans believe in hard work and feel that Hollywood folks are cashing in for doing very little work. Republicans on the other hand are perceived as "good ol' boys" that NASCAR fans can relate to.

Democrats have proven that they are better for the economy, especially for the lower and middle classes that most NASCAR fans are members of. Given this strong economic reason to vote Democratic, why do so many blue-collar NASCAR fans continue to support Republicans who cater to rich folks and big corporations? Especially when these same big corporations are the ones that are putting the squeeze on the working class in this country?  

Given the turnout of the election and Obama's victory in several former "red states" one can only assume that there are a lot of closeted NASCAR democrats out there. I can't be the only one who is secure enough to admit that as a proud NASCAR fan I voted for Obama.  Is it so wrong to be both a fan and a "stinking Liberal"?

References for this article can be found at:

NASCAR.com and Dailykos.com.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.