Donald Trump

Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Austin Wayne Self pushing Donald Trump, importance of voting with truck logos

5 Comments

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Austin Wayne Self will carry a noticeable message on his truck Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway.

Self’s No. 22 is an endorsement of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence. The Toyota is decked out in “Trump/Pence 2016” logos as well as Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

For Self, it’s his way of reminding everyone about the importance of voting in the upcoming Nov. 8 election.

“There’s no endorsements, no money coming in,” Self told NBC Sports about the truck’s logos. “It was between me, my father (who owns the truck), and the race team. I think it’s a really important election, probably the most important one we’ve seen in a long time, so that was really the main goal. Putting Trump on the truck was our opinion, that’s who we support. A lot of people agree with that, some people don’t, but at the end of the day, it’s been getting a lot of attention and it’s been fun to watch. And I think on both sides it’s made them realize how important it is to vote.”

Self is the latest driver to endorse Trump. In March, NASCAR CEO Brian France faced backlash after appearing and endorsing Trump at a rally in Georiga. He was joined by Bill and Chase Elliott, Ryan Newman, and David Ragan.

Self’s team has gone all out with their endorsement. Special fan autograph cards were made and there are plans to turn the truck into a die-cast collectible.

There have been numerous posts on social media about the logos, and Self will appear on “Fox & Friends” Saturday morning to discuss the truck. He’s also heard all of the positive and negative feedback, which he says doesn’t bother him because he respects the differing opinions.

“That’s the country we live in, we can speak up with our opinions,” he said. “I’ve definitely seen a lot about (the truck). I’ve seen some negative stuff but it doesn’t hurt my feelings at all; I enjoy seeing that. It kind of humbles me a little bit that they feel free to express their opinion.”

Self hopes this weekend will have a lasting effect.

“I think it’s opened up doors for me to express myself and what I stand for,” Self said. “It’s been exciting and, hopefully, it creates new opportunities for me because I’ve definitely enjoyed this.”

Follow @KellyCrandall

Austin Wayne Self’s truck at Talladega will promote Donald Trump’s presidential bid

AM Racing
3 Comments

Austin Wayne Self‘s truck will sport a scheme that backs Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and vice presidential candidate Mike Pence at the Oct. 22 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

The AM Racing No. 22 truck will be red, white and blue and feature Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again.”

Election day is Nov. 8.

“This will be the first presidential election I’ve been old enough to take part in,” said Self, who is 20, in a release on his website. “Politics has never really been that important to me until now – but now more than ever we need change. Trump and his values are in line with my beliefs. I’m a big supporter of his business background and believe his experience is what this country has been waiting for. I’m really excited to show my support.”

Tim Self, owner of AM Racing, explained why team will have the Trump-Pence scheme: “We have to get God back into our lives and rebuild our country on a foundation of Godly values. Trump’s actions indicate that he will push public policy in that direction. Jerry Falwell Jr, Franklin Graham and our good friend Dr. James Dobson have faith in Trump. He is our guy. Hopefully, the Trump-Pence truck will make a small difference. It represents our family and friends doing our part.”

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France endorsed Trump at a Feb. 29 rally at Valdosta State University. France was joined on stage at that rally by NASCAR drivers Ryan Newman, David Ragan, Chase Elliott and NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott.

Austin Wayne Self, a rookie in the series, has competed in all 18 truck races this year. His best finish is ninth at Eldora Speedway in July. He finished second in the ARCA standings in 2015.

Brian France not planning to speak nor attend Republican National Convention

Getty Images
2 Comments

Contrary to a report Monday by Bloomberg, NASCAR CEO and Chairman Brian France does not plan to attend the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next month, a NASCAR spokesman confirmed to NBC Sports.

“Brian does not plan to speak at nor attend the convention,” NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said in a statement.

The report comes four months after France and drivers Chase Elliott, Ryan Newman and David Ragan appeared at a campaign rally for presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump and endorsed him.

France and NASCAR received blowback for what France called a “routine endorsement” of Trump that was not intended as an endorsement by the sanctioning body.

“We talked to the campaign about the endorsement that I made, versus the sport, and it’s hard to get that perfectly right all the time,” France told The Associated Press in addition to saying he didn’t support all of Trump’s policies.

The endorsement also brought criticism from Marcus Lemonis, the CEO and Chairman of Camping World, the title sponsor of NASCAR’s Truck series.

“When you control a business, it is very difficult to make sure that the lines don’t get blurry,’’ said Lemonis. A letter Lemonis sent to NASCAR last year after Trump made controversial comments about immigrants led to NASCAR moving the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series banquet from the Trump National Doral

France’s involvement in politics is not new. France has a long history of making monetary donations to Political Action Committees (PAC) and political campaigns for both Republicans and Democrats according to the website opensecrets.org.

Last November, France made donations of $25,000 to the Republican National Committee and $2,075 to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Since his endorsement of Trump in February, France has also made donations to the campaigns of Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Reps. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., and Richard Hudson, R-N.C.

Since last September, France has made $43,175 in contributions to committees and campaigns.

Among those were the Republican Presidential campaigns of Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio.

NASCAR sponsor says Brian France’s endorsement of Donald Trump ‘created … this spectacle’

10 Comments

The CEO of the company sponsoring Sunday’s Sprint Cup race raised more questions about NASCAR Chairman Brian France endorsing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, stating France “created … this spectacle.’’

Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam, made the comments Friday on ESPN Radio’s Capital Games show.

Lemonis’ comments came two days after France told The Associated Press he was surprised at the reaction to his endorsement of Trump, admitted he had called some sponsors after appearing at Trump’s Georgia rally and confided he didn’t know all of Trump’s policies.

“It’s typical Brian in my opinion,’’ Lemonis told ESPN Radio. “I’ve seen this happen before. He doesn’t necessarily have all the facts and he picks up a vision and he does it with enthusiasm and exuberance.

“When he says he doesn’t understand the policies, that to me, in itself, is a bit of a problem that he doesn’t understand what people stand for, and he takes time out of his schedule on a brand that I spend millions of dollars to support.’’

Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway is sponsored by Good Sam, a sister company to Camping World, which also sponsors NASCAR’s Truck Series.

Lemonis told Sports Business Daily on March 1 that he disagreed with France’s endorsement of Trump because it’s not good business to potentially alienate customers and employees.

Lemonis, who stars in “The Profit” on CNBC, reiterated those comments in Friday’s interview with ESPN Radio.

He noted that when a CEO endorses a candidate, it “infers that it’s validating what everybody in that organization thinks from the people who enjoy the company’s product, or the people that enjoy their sport in the case of Brian France, or asks them to pick a side and it’s just not the right forum.’’

France was joined on stage at the Feb. 29 Trump rally by NASCAR drivers Chase Elliott, Ryan Newman and David Ragan, along with Hall of Fame member Bill Elliott.

Lemonis questioned the need for such endorsements at all.

“I think that there’s a certain amount of ego that goes into wanting to think that your endorsement is going to add so much credibility to an intelligent voter,’’ Lemonis said when asked by ESPN Radio about Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer endorsing Ohio Gov. John Kasich for president on Thursday.

“I think it’s insulting to think that regular citizens like ourselves do not have the education to think with our minds,’’ Lemonis said.

Since the Georgia rally, Trump has repeatedly said he’s been endorsed by NASCAR, raising another issue for Lemonis.

“When you use a sport like NASCAR, you use a sport like the NFL or the NBA or anything like that where the fans are wildly loyal, and now you’ve essentially given the endorsement of a population that is made up of supporters of lots of different people, that’s a problem.

“Does it surprise me that Donald Trump would say (NASCAR has endorsed him)? I’m not sure that he’s different than any other candidate that would just grab on to something and just make it fact. It’s definitely a problem for me that Brian created this spectacle and had drivers there … and made it seem like NASCAR was out there.’’

Brian France says he’s surprised at reaction to his endorsement of Donald Trump

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Gabrielle's Angel Foundation
23 Comments

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he considered his support of leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump a “routine endorsement” and admitted he didn’t know all of Trump’s policies.

France also said he was surprised by the reaction to his endorsement at a Feb. 29 Trump rally at Valdosta (Ga.) State University. France was joined on stage by NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott and Sprint Cup drivers Chase Elliott, Ryan Newman and David Ragan.

“I was frankly, very surprised, that my diversity efforts for my whole career would have been called into question, over this, in my view, a routine endorsement,” France told The Associated Press.

France said NASCAR has spent “tens of millions of dollars” on a program intended to increase participation of minorities in the sport.

That is in stark contrast to the backing Trump has received from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto likened Trump’s “strident tone” to the ascent of dictators Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.’’

“I’m not supporting him for all of his views, or his immigration views,” France said of Trump. “I happen to be very enamored by the excitement he’s brought and the voter turnout that it is creating.”

France reiterated that his endorsement was personal and not from NASCAR even as Trump continues to say he has the backing of NASCAR.

“We talked to the campaign about the endorsement that I made, versus the sport, and it’s hard to get that perfectly right all the time,” France said.

A spokesperson for the Trump campaign told the AP that Trump spoke broadly of the endorsement because it “is from the great Brian France, in addition to several NASCAR drivers.’’

Read The Associated Press’ story here.