The line between NASCAR and politics has become more and more blurred in recent years. The “typical” NASCAR fan has been seen, and largely continues to be seen, as white and conservative. The outward reverence for the national anthem in the age of some dropping to a knee, underscored that value system.
Last season, Corey LaJoie’s car had a “FOX Nation” logo for a couple of races. Liberty University, founded by the late evangelist Jerry Falwell, has had its logo on William Byron’s car though Byron has been continuing to take classes from there. In 2020, a car was briefly sponsored by Donald Trump. All of these fit the classic stereotype of “NASCAR fan”.
However, that is evolving. With the alleged noose incident at Talladega in 2020 directed at NASCAR’s only full-time African-American driver Bubba Wallace, other viewpoints have entered the conversation around the sport. The moving walking show of solidarity with Wallace the day after the noose affair, with Wallace wearing “Black Lives Matter” on his shirt, & then those words being emblazoned on his car the very next week, opened up another set of politics at the NASCAR table.
The tone in America politically has grown increasingly negative, an “Us vs. Them ”mentality all too prevalent. So this week NASCAR tried to get out ahead of any potential political negativity outshining the racing itself, though not all that clearly. FOX Sports noted NASCAR writer Bob Pockrass reported this week, “NASCAR has been informing teams this week that no political campaign, no political action committee sponsorships allowed. No written policy as of yet has been distributed as far as detailing what would be banned / allowed. ”
NASCAR has been informing teams this week that no political campaign, no political action committee sponsorships allowed. No written policy as of yet has been distributed as far as detailing what would be banned / allowed (1/2)
– Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) February 2, 2022
NASCAR absolutely wants the racing front and center, as they should especially with the investment in the new car. But this subject will continue to evolve as the season plays out, it will be interesting to see just how much this becomes an issue the closer we get to November.