Mark Martin becomes latest NASCAR notable to endorse Donald Trump

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was in NASCAR country Monday afternoon, and he again was on the stump with the support of some stock-car starpower.

Mark Martin, who is on the ballot for the 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame, went on stage with the GOP frontrunner and offered his robust support.

“How about Mark gets up and steals my best line,” Trump told the crowd gathered at an arena about 15 miles from Charlotte Motor Speedway. “He says, ‘We’re going to build that wall.’ I love that!”

It was the second time in a week that Trump had received a hearty endorsement from a NASCAR figure. In a Feb. 29 rally at Valdosta State in Georgia, NASCAR Chairman Brian France endorsed Trump and was joined by Bill Elliott, Chase Elliott, David Ragan and Ryan Newman.

Trump cited the support of France and NASCAR numerous times during the rally and alluded to being backstage with the Elliotts, according to Charlotte Business Journal reporter Erik Spanberg.

A Hendrick Motorsports spokesman said Elliott was out of state, which seemed to be confirmed Monday afternoon in a tweet sent by the Sprint Cup rookie, who had raced Sunday in Las Vegas.

Trump compared France with investor Carl Icahn and suggested he would put the NASCAR guru in charge of trade relations with Japan.

Though Trump made references indicating France was present, the NASCAR CEO wasn’t in attendance Monday. France’s endorsement of Trump has been described by NASCAR as “a personal and private decision.”

“NASCAR has not and does not endorse political candidates,” NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said.

Trump interrupted his speech numerous times as protesters were removed from the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center by authorities.