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Trump Campaign Gets a Race Car Courtesy of Nascar Owners

Bloomberg Politics, November 04, 2016

By Eben Novy-Williams

Donald Trump is entered in a different race this weekend.

For Nascar’s Texas 500, the sponsors of Reed Sorenson’s No. 55 have covered the car nose-to-tail in Trump-Pence logos. The car has been painted in red, white and blue, and Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” is on the hood, trunk and sides.

The design was a joint decision from some of the team’s sponsors, according to Jay Robinson, an owner at Sorenson’s Premium Motorsports team. He declined to say which specific companies were involved, but two weeks ago Clyde May’s Whiskey was the hood sponsor, with Colgate-Palmolive’s Speed Stick, Hyatt Hotels Corp.’s Hyatt Place, Champion Machinery and Rinnai also featured on the car.

“What’s good for manufacturing is good for us, and we believe Donald Trump would be good for manufacturing,” said Champion Machinery President Dale Danahey. The Charlotte, N.C.-based company is one of Sorenson’s year-long sponsors.

Such a one-race, primary sponsorship package typically costs about $350,000, according to Jim Andrews, Senior Vice President at sponsorship research firm IEG. Media exposure will depend on where Sorenson starts -- he is currently No. 39 in the Sprint Cup standings -- and how well he does. The race will take place Nov. 6 on NBC.

American motorsports fans generally overlap with Trump’s base -- both skew heavily male, white and Southern. Nascar chairman and chief executive officer Brian France gave his personal endorsement to the candidate at a Georgia rally earlier this year, joined by former driver Bill Elliott and current drivers David Ragan, Ryan Newman and Chase Elliott.

The Trump-Nascar connection has not been entirely seamless. Last year, Nascar moved a postseason banquet from Trump’s Doral property in Miami due to offensive comments he made about Mexicans, according to USA Today. And after France’s endorsement drew public outcry, he emailed Nascar employees to explain that his support for the candidate was strictly personal.

The Texas 500 marks the second Nascar race to feature a Trump car. Without a sponsor for a race last year, truck driver Korbin Forrister painted his Nascar truck with “Trump for President” and “Make America Great Again.”