Obama Considers Sponsoring Sprint Cup Car in NASCAR Race

By Ed O'Keefe

Jul 11, 2008 6:27pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller Reports: Presidential gentlemen, start your engines! Sen. Barack Obama is considering sponsoring a race car in a forthcoming NASCAR series.

"We get a lot of good ideas every day but there are no such agreements in place at this time," Obama spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters — not exactly stopping the news as first reported by Sports Illustrated in its tracks.

In an article on their website, SI.com reported "Barack Obama’s campaign is in talks to become the primary sponsor of BAM Racing’s No. 49 Sprint Cup car for the Pocono race on August 3. Details of the agreement are expected to be worked out over the coming days."

Obama, D-Ill., opted out of public financing in the general election campaign — breaking a campaign pledge allowing the presumptive Democratic nominee to raise an unlimited amount of cash in his battle for the White House against Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

The Illinois Senator’s fundraisers boldy predicted he could raise $100 million dollars in June but fell far short raising a respectable $30 million — $8 million more than McCain, who had his best month of fundraising to-date, hauling in $22 million.

According to SI.com, a July 23 press conference is scheduled to reveal the details of the arrangement that will put Obama and "racing sources claim one of the options being considered would allow individual campaign donors to get their name on the race car for as little as $100."

No word yet on whether McCain will respond in kind — making the Pocono series truly the first race of a tight turning campaign.

But is Obama wasting his time trying to steal McCain support from hard core NASCAR fans?  Sprint Cup race driver Jimmie Johnson told U.S. News & World Report as much. "I think our core fan base being strong Republicans like they are, that’s going to be the first choice. I also think his credits in history and what he’s done for our country, certainly for our country, a lot of those things will be fully noticed by our fan base," says Johnson.

Not surprisingly, RNC spokesman Alex Conant agrees. "Barack Obama’s words whether they’re at a San Francisco fundraiser or on the hood of a car will not get him to Victory Lane.".

Obama wouldn’t be the first Dem to pull it off.  Let’s not forget that back in 2001, former Virginia Governor Mark Warner sponsored a car at a NASCAR race with historic results.

UPDATE: Just before midnight, Obama campaign spokesperson Jen Psaki tells ABC News’ Sunlen Miller: “The Obama campaign will not be sponsoring a car in the Sprint Cup series, though we continue to look for ways to reach out to voters and convey Senator Obama’s message of change.”

ABC News’ Jake Tapper contributed to this report.

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