For years, we have waited for the day when the worlds of politics and NASCAR would finally collide. We’ve dreaded the day, hoping to keep our sport pure and about friendly competition, and to keep the dirty world of politics out.
When rumors swirled two years ago that now-President Barack Obama’s campaign would be sponsoring BAM Racing’s #49 entry at Pocono, we feared that the day might finally be here. Fortunately, those were only rumors. The day was put off.
Texas governor Rick Perry has announced his campaign will be sponsoring Bobby Labonte’s #71 car for the April 18th race at Texas Motor Speedway. The campaign is paying $225,000 to be on board Labonte’s race car for just one race.
For an image of the car, click here.
Now the floodgates are opened, leaving us to wonder where, if ever, it will end.
We know where it starts, and that’s the bad campaign analogies, such as the one Governor Perry used at the announcement:
“Bobby Labonte’s driving represents Texas’ strong economy.”
But now where does it end? What if another politician decides sponsoring a race car is a good idea? What about another? And another? Will we soon we watching a parade of campaign ads as opposed to a corporate parade?
Will the world of NASCAR soon be divided into two parties: Red and Blue? Will NASCAR become like Hollywood, with the drivers giving crappy political advise as opposed to driving their race cars?
Will this be what finally sends NASCAR off the deep end?
We don’t know the answers to those questions right now. But what we do know is that the day we have dreaded is here.
Politics and NASCAR: It’s finally happening.