NSCS: Rick Santorum campaign to sponsor Daytona 500 driver

February 26, 2012 No Comments

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum will sponsor a car in Sunday’s Daytona 500.

The “Made in the USA” campaign will occupy both the hood and quarter panels of Tony Raines’ No. 26 Ford Fusion in the season-opening race. Last year’s Daytona 500 drew an average audience of 15 million on FOX and more than 30 million total viewers.

“NASCAR and the Daytona 500 are about as American as you can get, and it’s great to have my campaign represented by one of these incredible machines,” Santorum said in a press release. “The race weekend is a wonderful tradition that we’re excited to be a part of as we spread our message. I like how Tony Raines turned some heads last weekend with his qualifying run, and we’d like to keep turning heads, too. I think we’re both looking for a win in the end.”

Raines wasn’t guaranteed a spot in the Great American Race but put his Front Row Motorsports car in the race on speed during the qualifying session on Feb. 19th.

“We’re glad to partner with the Santorum campaign,” said Bob Jenkins, owner of the three-car team. “We know there will be millions of eyes on these cars on Sunday, and we know we can help get their message out. It’s a pretty tight battle for the Republican nomination right now, and the former Senator is right in the thick of it. We hope we’re in the thick of it come Sunday out on the racetrack, too.”

Having said that, Rick Santorum is not the only one making news in Daytona this weekend, as presidential candidate Mitt Romney is planning a campaign stop prior to the Daytona 500.

This will not be the first time a presidential candidate has made a campaign stop in Daytona during the Great American Race, as former President George W. Bush made a stop during his re-election campaign year (2004) to drop the green flag.

But politics have always been apart of racing in some shape or form. Just two years ago, former Republican presidential candidate, Rick Perry, sponsored Bobby Labonte’s car during the April 2010 race at Texas Motor Speedway while running for a third term as governor of Texas.

However, the earliest to carry political signage was Roy Tyner, who put a “John F. Kennedy for President” sticker on his car in 1960.

Even though most fans try to escape politics by finding joys in other areas, including sports, one can not escape too far without resulting back to American politics. This has never been more evident than to witness the 2012 running of the Great American Race.

 

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