Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Just one of them political deals

Published reports such as this one recounted the visit of some NASCAR drivers to the White House to meet with President Bush.

I don't follow NASCAR with the intensity of many of my friends, but I enjoy the drivers - as was the case recently when I saw Earnhardt, Jr., interviewed on the "Hot Seat" segment of "Sportscenter" and when he was asked the question, "which NASCAR driver would you most like to punch in the face?" his first reaction was "Awesome!" (He said he'd like to punch Matt Kenseth, but he figured that Kenseth would punch him back.) I went to elementary school for a while with one of the longtime NASCAR reporters, but I can't say that I've seen her on TV in some years (particularly since Fox Sports Net is not included in my cable package at the house).

I first read of the association between NASCAR and presidential politics in the nutty Hunter Thompson book, "Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72," in which he describes a scene with Alabama Governor George Wallace shaking hands with his good friend "Dick Petty," and how none of the other Democrats had that kind of connection. (Has anything changed on that score?) I doubt that Petty ever endorsed Wallace, particularly since he ran as a Republican when he sought statewide office in North Carolina in 1996.

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