Mrs. Obama Faced Boos at NASCAR, But Bush Was Cheered -- Most Top Drivers Endorsed Bush in 2004

Matt Cover | November 21, 2011 | 1:29pm EST
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( – First Lady Michelle Obama was booed at a NASCAR Race in Miami, Fla.,  on Sunday, after she appeared with Second Lady Jill Biden to give the traditional “Gentlemen, start your engines!” command to begin the race. In contrast, when President George W. Bush launched a Daytona Beach NASCAR race in 2004, he was cheered by the crowd.

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Some liberal media outlets, including the Gawker Web site which first reported the story, were critical of the booing against Michelle Obama, with Gawker calling it an “ugly reminder of how personally some have taken the political divisions in our country.” YahooSports derided NASCAR fans as “disgusting bozos” and “redneck fools” over the incident.

However, that NASCAR fans are largely conservative, and thus probably are not Obama fans, should not come as a surprise. In 2004, many of the sport’s top drivers publicly endorsed President George W. Bush for reelection.

Firts Lady Michelle Obama at a NASCAR race in Miami, Fla., Nov. 20, 2011. (AP Photo)

In 2004, the Bush campaign released a list of NASCAR drivers and retired legends who had endorsed the then-president’s reelection campaign. Among those included were racing legend Darrell Waltrip, NASCAR President Mike Helton, and nine of the then-Top 10 drivers, including Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, and Jimmie Johnson.

NASCAR fans also gave Bush lengthy cheers and applause at a 2004 race in Daytona Beach, Fla..

NASCAR legend Richard Petty threw his support behind the candidacy of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008. Also, then-NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson said that he believed most NASCAR fans would support McCain.

“I'd have to pick (John) McCain,” Johnson said in July 2008. “I think our core fan base, being Republicans like they are, that will be their first choice.”

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