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Start Your Engines: Conservative Group Targets NASCAR Fans in Unconventional 'Get Out the Vote' Campaign
(Photo: MacDonald Motorsports)

Start Your Engines: Conservative Group Targets NASCAR Fans in Unconventional 'Get Out the Vote' Campaign

"The most effective messages are the ones that resonate with reality"

The American left is notorious for it's "Get Out the Vote" campaigns, which encompass everything from labor unions to MTV.  But now, it seems, the right is starting to manage an equally effective -- if not more entertaining campaign -- of their own. And they're doing it with NASCAR fans.

More conservative than most of the population, roughly one in five NASCAR fans isn't registered to vote, and a group called "American Majority" is hoping to change that.

Its website explains: "The program is designed to target millions of NASCAR fans from all political backgrounds in an unprecedented effort to engage them in the electoral process.  Having teamed up with NASCAR driver Jason Bowles and car #81 MacDonald Motorsports for the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series racing season, the American Majority Racing program is designed to educate Americans about how smaller government and less spending will 'Keep America Free.'"

Ned Ryun, who founded American Majority, explained: “The fact that a conservative non-profit would do this [sponsor its own race car] for an entire season is unprecedented.”

He continued: “We want to be a portal into politics for NASCAR Nation. One of the things that excites me is being able to challenge people and say listen, if you are concerned about too much government, too much spending, not enough individual freedom, there’s something you can do about it, and that’s vote. I think that’s a message that will resonate.”

And it's no small audience they're targeting.

According to statistics released by NASCAR, the average attendance at Nationwide races last season was 60,000 people, and more than 120,000 for premiere events.  Even when numbers were low at the beginning of the economic downturn, a stadium that could hold 135,000 fans often saw 80,000 on a race day -- about the size of a crowd for an NFL game.

In raw numbers, according to the Washington Examiner, NASCAR's fan base includes roughly 75 million Americans.

Even Time Magazine profiled the movement, explaining that it isn't just ideology that will get people to vote -- it's excitement.

“The most effective messages are the ones that resonate with reality,” Merle Black, a professor of Political Science at Emory University elaborated.

And that's where tying NASCAR, to voting comes into play.

Ryun summarized: “We’re trying to communicate to them that if you don’t like where you are now these are a couple of steps you can take to get us back on that path to freedom and prosperity. We’re challenging them, saying if you want to see difference, here’s how you do it.  It’s very simple...get registered and vote.”

The metaphorical race for voters will soon shift into first gear, on both sides of the political spectrum.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.


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