Just a few days ago, NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France announced his formal endorsement for controversial GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally in Valdosta, Georgia.
The rally and endorsement were both strategic as Trump’s campaigned timed the rally a day before Super Tuesday. France’s endorsement was meant to bolster votes for Trump, especially in states where NASCAR holds some of its Sprint Cup events. Recent sentiments, however, reveal that France’s endorsement of Trump is doing NASCAR more harm than good.
For starters, one of NASCAR’s major truck series sponsors does not appreciate the endorsement of Trump at all. Marcus Lemonis, the chairman and chief executive officer of Camping World/Good Sam, had made it clear from the beginning that he and his company want nothing to do with Trump.
In June last year following Trump’s derogatory comments about Mexicans, Lemonis wrote a letter to France saying that his company will not attend any NASCAR Camping World Truck Series even if it was to be held in a Trump property. “We feel strongly about distancing ourselves from any negative and discriminatory comments made against any gender, ethnicity, age group or so forth,” Lemonis wrote. He also referred to Trump’s controversial comments as “blatantly bigoted and racist.”
Following France’s endorsement of Trump, Lemonis tweeted, “There is no place for politics/any political endorsements in any business. Your customers and employees should have their own mind.” Moreover, France also told The Daily Beast that France “is crossing the line by using [for his Trump endorsement] the NASCAR backdrop that I spend millions of dollars on.”
A NASCAR spokesman has said that France’s endorsement was a “private, personal decision.” Meanwhile, Lemonis’s company is supposed to have a partnership with NASCAR until 2022. Their deal is said to be worth at least $35 million.