Seven months after NASCAR relocated an event because it was scheduled to take place at a resort owned by Donald Trump, the CEO of the racing organization and several drivers endorsed the controversial Republican presidential candidate Monday at a rally in Valdosta, Ga.
“I’ve known Donald for over 20 years,” NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said during the rally. “I’m going to tell you one thing about him. You know about his winning in business and success. I’m here to tell you he wins with his family.
Trump was more than happy to accept the praise from France, as well as NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott and drivers Chase Elliott, Ryan Newman and David Ragan.
“If the people that like and watch NASCAR vote for Donald Trump, they can cancel the election right now,” Trump told the crowd. “Nobody else can win. Nobody.”
Trump added that he’s “proud to receive the endorsement of such an iconic brand.”
Well, not necessarily the entire brand. NASCAR spokesman David Higdon told ESPN via email that France was not representing the organization at the rally.
“Private personal decision by Brian,” Higdon said.
In July, NASCAR moved its Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series award ceremonies from a Trump resort near Miami after he made derogatory comments about Mexican immigrants.
At the time, Higdon told reporters that NASCAR “had been “looking at our own relationship with [Trump] and how it may have an impact and ultimately made the decision it does not make sense to continue that.”
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of NASCAR sponsor Camping World, had pushed for the move. He took to Twitter on Monday to speak out against France’s endorsement of Trump.
“We need a change, guys,” Bill Elliott said at the rally. “That’s all there is to it. And I think this is the man for the job.”
His son Chase added of Trump: “This is a great man. I think he’s a guy who can do some great things for us.”