The Myth of NASCAR Redneck Politics

By admin ~ August 14th, 2010 @ 9:25 pm

G.O.P. candidate Rudy Giuliani made an appearance at Daytona International Speedway over the weekend announcing – “I want a ride in a pace car.”

Giuliani spoke to reporters in the garage stall of Rusty Wallace Racing, wanting to climb in one of the team’s race cars. Rudy was denied the opportunity because, according to Rusty Wallace, Giuliani wouldn’t fit through the window. “I said, ‘Rudy, the problem is I’m too big to get in there, and you’re too big to get in there.”

Wallace told reporters, “If he’s really serious about it, I’ll find a car for him to get in. He wants to get in the real car and get on the race track.” Rudy ended up riding in his campaign bus around the track but vowed to return during the campaign to hitch a ride in a pace car.

Kevin Harvick, the defending Daytona 500 champion said Monday (January 21) he started watching MSNBC coverage of the presidential primaries and said he found it “pretty entertaining.”

“Politics is a dirty sport,” Harvick said. “I thought our sport was backstabbing. Man.”

During a news conference at Daytona International Speedway, where the second week of Sprint Cup testing got under way Monday, Harvick was asked if he has a favorite among the Presidential candidates. When asked about the Democrat candidates, Harvick replied, “No, please. I don’t want my president to cry,” referring to Sen. Clinton, who misted up on the campaign trail in New Hampshire.

Who does Harvick like? Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Republican.

“I like Huckabee, to be honest with you,” Harvick said. “I just like the way he presents himself and the way he talks. Giuliani has been to a lot of NASCAR races, but I just like the way Huckabee presents himself – whatever that matters for.”

Let’s burst the redneck NASCAR fan myth and look at why politicians will continue to romance Nascar fans.

According to a NASCAR survey, published in 2004, about 40% of fans are female and their numbers are rising. About 75% have attended college and more than 25% own their own homes. About 36% of NASCAR fans make more than $50,000 a year.

Surprised?

NASCAR fans are evenly distributed across the country. For example, 20% of NASCAR fans live in the Northeast U.S. This is in line with the general population. 20% of the U.S. population lives in the Northeast.

While the largest base of NASCAR fans live in the Southern U.S., only 38% of the NASCAR fans live in the South. Again, this is in line with the general population. 35% of the population lives in the South.

If you think that most NASCAR fans are redneck and caucasian, think again. According to the same NASCAR survey, about 10% of NASCAR fans are African-American, which is a slightly smaller percentage of Blacks than in the general population. This compares to the NFL, where Black NFL fans represent about 11.7% of the total NFL base.

The percentage of African-American NASCAR fans has grown by 86% since 1999. There have also been some attempts by NASCAR to bring in more African-American fans into the seats, and drivers into the races. The survey did not indicate what percentage of fans are Hispanic.

What can we conclude? NASCAR fans are everywhere and number in the millions. In a close race, they could make the difference as to whom is chosen the next President of the United States.

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