NASCAR chief Brian France defends Trump endorsement to employees

Chairman Brian France sent an email to all NASCAR employees this week defending his decision to endorse Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and vowed NASCAR would remain “a model of a progressive organization.”

NASCAR chief Brian France defends Trump endorsement to employees
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France
Brian France, CEO and chairman of NASCAR
Donald Trump settles into his new ride as the 2011 Indianapolis 500 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible Pace Car driver for the 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500
NASCAR CEO and Chairman Brian France
Donald Trump checks out his new ride as the 2011 Indianapolis 500 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible Pace Car driver for the 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500
NASCAR CEO and Chairman Brian France
Donald Trump checks out his new ride as the 2011 Indianapolis 500 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible Pace Car driver for the 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500
Brian France, Chairman and CEO of NASCAR
...its Donald Trump and…

In the email, several copies of which were obtained by Motorsport.com, France said, “I made the personal decision on Monday to announce my support of Donald Trump. I have known Donald and his family for many years, and it is through this connection that I offered my support.

“Needless to say, with any candidate that one may endorse, there are many positions or policies that run counter to your beliefs, as is the case here with me. This is my personal and not a corporate position.”

France, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott and current NASCAR drivers David Ragan, Ryan Newman and Chase Elliott all appeared with Trump at a rally earlier this week in Valdosta, Ga., before the Super Tuesday primaries.

In comments made at the rally, France said: “He wins with his family. Any of his children, you’d be proud of have them as part of your family. That’s how I judge a winner, how somebody manages their family and raises their family.”

The move came as a surprise, not because France hasn’t endorsed political candidates in the past, but because of NASCAR’s decision last year to pull its annual Xfinity and Truck series banquets from the Trump National Doral property following what many considered to be Trump’s racist comments toward Mexican immigrants.

In the days after that decision, NASCAR spokesman David Higdon told reporters at Daytona that NASCAR had been already looking at its “relationship with (Trump) and how it may have an impact and ultimately made the decision it does not make sense to continue that.”

In the days since the public endorsement, NASCAR has received a great deal of backlash, both publicly and privately, and several top executives in the industry have privately questioned the timing and need of the announcement.

In response to media inquiries regarding the endorsement, Higdon said succinctly, “Private personal decision made by Brian.”

NASCAR did not immediately return a request for comment regarding France’s email this week.

In his email, France vowed that NASCAR would continue to operate “unchanged.”

Dear NASCAR Employees, 

I was not able to attend the Town Hall meeting yesterday, so I wanted to send a note to the NASCAR team.  

As many of you know, I often have been involved in supporting political candidates running for public office.  Elections are an important part of our country's democratic system, and I truly believe that being involved is an important role for every citizen. 

Looking ahead at the presidential election in November, I made the personal decision on Monday to announce my support of Donald Trump.  I have known Donald and his family for many years, and it is through this connection that I offered my support.  Needless to say, with any candidate that one may endorse, there are many positions or policies that run counter to your beliefs, as is the case here with me.  This is my personal and not a corporate position.  However, I still encourage each of you to make your own personal evaluations as our country moves forward in the electoral process.

That said, let me make something perfectly clear:  NASCAR will continue to operate our business unchanged.  This includes our deep, long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion.  It’s a commitment that I made to this organization more than a decade ago.  We will not waiver from our goal to make our sport more open and friendly to everyone, and we will remain steadfast in our support of key initiatives to grow our fan base and remain a model of a progressive organization.

If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to raise them directly with your supervisor, Officers in our company, or to me directly.

Best regards,

Brian

Camping World CEO not impressed

Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis, whose company sponsors NASCAR’s Truck series, had pushed for NASCAR to leave Trump’s resort last year in a June 30 letter to France following what Lemonis said were Trump’s “blatantly bigoted and racist” comments about Mexicans. Motorsport.com obtained a copy of Lemonis’ letter at the time.

shares
comments
NASCAR suspends Truex crew chief, penalizes several other teams

Previous article

NASCAR suspends Truex crew chief, penalizes several other teams

Next article

Jimmie Johnson leads morning test at Las Vegas

Jimmie Johnson leads morning test at Las Vegas
Load comments
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020
Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture Prime

Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture

“You can’t hear me? Hey n*****” Those fateful words uttered by Kyle Larson, spoken into his esports headset on April 12, were directed at his sim racing spotter – but instead they quickly became amplified around the world via social media, including his own Twitch stream.

NASCAR Cup
Oct 29, 2020