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NASCAR Still Seeing Attendance Drops At Cup Races Despite Promos
Published August 20, 2009
|NASCAR Sprint Cup Events Estimated To
Have Drawn 246,800 Fewer People Than In '08
THE PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE 500: The White House honored NASCAR yesterday, with President Obama saluting '08 Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and several other current and former drivers. ESPN2's Dale Jarrett said the event "says a lot about our sport that they take the time and have the opportunity here for us to be recognized as champions." An event like the one at the White House gives NASCAR "an opportunity to get our sport out there in front of a lot of people that maybe don't pay a lot of attention at times." Obama after the ceremony said he would "love" to attend a NASCAR race. Obama: "I was supposed to do it during the campaign, but we just ended up having to travel too much and we weren’t able to devote the amount of time that I wanted to. Hopefully sometime during my presidency I’m going to get out there" ("NASCAR Now," ESPN2, 8/19).
TURN LEFT, BUT LEAN RIGHT: POLITICO.com’s Kenneth Vogel noted the 17 drivers invited to the White House “have given a total of $113,625 in federal campaign contributions since the early 1980s, all of which went to Republican candidates and party committees” (POLITICO.com, 8/19). FOXSPORTS.com’s Lee Spencer noted driver Bill Elliott, “who was on his third trip to the White House, didn’t feel the warmth he experienced during the Bush administration” at yesterday's festivities. Elliott: “They weren’t very personable. Bush took us in the oval office. This seemed a bit rushed.” But driver Juan Pablo Montoya said of visiting the White House and meeting President Obama, “It was pretty cool” (FOXSPORTS.com, 8/19).