Trump re-election bid picks up speed with NASCAR sponsorship

(Reuters) - United States president Donald Trump’s re-election bid will pick up speed this weekend with Trump 2020 the primary sponsor of Corey LaJoie’s car for NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday.

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Go Fas Racing announced on Wednesday it had entered into a partnership with Patriots of America PAC, a pro-Donald Trump Political Action Committee, for nine races, including the Cup Series race at the Brickyard.

“I am honored to be part of the President’s re-election campaign through the Patriots of America PAC,” said Go Fas team owner Archie St Hilaire.

“As a Trump 2020 supporter, this team will do everything possible to secure victory on and off the track electing President Donald Trump to a second term.

“Let us bring this country back and Keep America Great.”

LaJoie’s number 32 Ford Mustang will race with a red, white and blue livery and will have TRUMP 2020 decals on the hood and side panels.

In five seasons competing in NASCAR’s top series LaJoie is still chasing a first top-five finish and currently sits 28th in the Cup standings.

“With an estimated 75 million NASCAR fans out there, I was surprised that about 15 million of those fans are not registered voters,” said driver Corey LaJoie.

“I will give my best effort to get NASCAR fans registered to vote, through our team efforts on and off the track. When they see the car, hopefully it makes them race to the polls in November.”

Trump has courted the NASCAR vote and in February made an appearance as grand marshal at the Daytona 500 where he led a pace lap in his presidential limousine and gave the call for “Gentlemen, start your engines”.

Recently, however, Trump and NASCAR have been at opposite sides of the debate on Confederate symbols.

Last month NASCAR banned the Confederate flag, a symbol of oppression and slavery for many Americans, from all its races and events.

Trump, meanwhile, has ruled out renaming U.S. military bases that are named for Confederate leaders and demanded prison time for anyone caught vandalizing U.S. historical monuments.

Many statues and monuments targeted by crowds in recent weeks pay homage to the rebel Confederacy from the nation’s Civil War and are seen as tributes to those who perpetuated slavery.

Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris