Conservative group to sponsor NASCAR driver in election

Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:37pm EST
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By Mary Wisniewski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - NASCAR racing cars typically are painted with ads for products like coffee, beer, or tires.

But a conservative political training organization is trying something different this presidential election year -- it's sponsoring a red-white-and-blue car with the message "Keep America Free."

American Majority, which has worked with Tea Party activists but calls itself non-partisan, said it is the first political group to sponsor a NASCAR car and driver for an entire season of the popular stock car races, while also reaching out to voters with information booths outside the track.

"For too long we believe that Hollywood and various media outlets and elected officials have had too much influence on the nation," said Ned Ryun, founder and president of American Majority. "It's time to put America back in the driver seat and we think the NASCAR nation a good place to start."

American Majority will be the primary sponsor of NASCAR driver Jason Bowles and MacDonald Motorsports car #81 for the 2012 Nationwide Series, which will include 14 races before the November presidential election. The car will race first at the flagship Daytona 500 race at Daytona International Speedway, Florida, February 25.

The car is painted red-white-and-blue with the words "Keep America Free" on one end, "American Majority Racing" on the other, and "Pledge To Vote" on the side. Information provided by the campaign will promote conservative fiscal policy, but will not endorse candidates.

Ryun said the "NASCAR nation" skews conservative but not all of NASCAR fans vote. "NASCAR fans have the ability to shape the future of this country, because of the size of the NASCAR nation," Ryun said. He said NASCAR has 75 million fans.

"It's great to reach fans that have never been reached on a level like this," said Bowles. "It's important to this country."   Continued...

<p>The new NASCAR American Majority Racing team race car is seen in New York City, February 9, 2012. REUTER/Mike Segar</p>