NASCAR has 75 million fans—a lot of potential voters for this year's presidential election.
That has groups like American Majority Racing taking advantage.
At a recent NASCAR race, fans could see the group's mission plastered on the side of car No. 81. They want Americans to "pledge to vote" and to "keep America free."
"If you're concerned about where this country's headed, if you don't like where we are economically, if you don't like where you're at economically, if gas is too high, if you don't like the fact that you're $130,000 in debt per person ... you have to do something," American Majority Racing Founder Ned Ryun said.
A 'Do Something' Attitude
Ryun believes "doing something" means getting in the driver's seat and participating in the election process. He said the goal of American Majority Racing is to fight against the "triple threat" of big government: out-of-control spending, massive debt and overtaxation.
The American Majority Racing team believes education will make a difference at the ballot box, and they're not holding back—on or off the track.
Large banners drape their booth on "venders row" with messages like, "Sixty-two percent of Americans believe cutting taxes, not increased government spending, is the best way to create jobs."
"Know what the issues are because we think that the issues are what drives people out," American Majority Racing volunteer Roger Pogge said. "And when they know what the issues are, they're going to vote right and see a change in our nation."
"Everybody knows this country has struggled financially for the last three or four years, and even us as drivers in NASCAR have seen it on the sponsorship side," added Jason Bowles, the driver for American Majority Racing.
"The fans have seen it," he continued. "They go to less races, less vacations. Everybody's understanding that there's a problem."
Stand Against Big Government
Bowles said he believes basic freedoms are in jeopardy.
"There are some things that should make people very, very nervous," he said. "The direction that we've gone and the speed that we've gotten there is not a good sign."
American Majority Racing hopes its pledge to vote drive will lead to limited government.
Randy MacDonald, the owner of MacDonald Motorsports, which owns car No. 81, agreed.
"As government gets bigger, then they make me as a small business owner do more stuff, and I'm spending time doing more stuff than making my cars faster," MacDonald said.
Ryun says NASCAR fans are very patriotic and usually have more conservative values, so it makes sense to encourage them to make a trip to the ballot box.
The American Majority "pledge to vote" drive is not the first time NASCAR has navigated the world of politics.
Last year, congressional Democrats spoke out against the U.S. military's sponsorship of race teams. Also in 2011, the website TeaParty.net sponsored a team in the NASCAR truck series.
Although some NASCAR fans booing first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden at a race last fall made national headlines, those on the left have not shied away from reaching out to potential voters.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., even put his name on a race car.
And although he eventually decided against it, in 2008, then Sen. Barack Obama considered sponsoring a Sprint Cup Series race car.
One Person to Make a Difference
Fast-forward to this presidential election year and the American Majority voter drive is proving successful. According to Politico, NASCAR races are averaging around 4,000 registrants for American Majority.
Ryun noted that those on the left have done their own voter campaigns like "Rock the Vote."
"Why can't we do it on the right and have fun doing it? And we are," he said.
Heather Smith, president of "Rock the Vote," told Politico.com that registering people to vote—no matter what the targeted demographic—benefits democracy, especially if young people are encouraged to head to the polls.
And 19-year-old rookie NASCAR driver Taylor Doggett gets the message.
"If it takes one person to make the difference, that's really what it means," Doggett said. "Every vote counts."
That's a statement both sides of the political aisle believe as they race to Election Day.
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