by Jordan Zakarin
Democrat Barack Obama, at a crucial point in his campaign for President, addressed Tuesday the issue of race in a speech at Constitution Hall in Philadelphia, declaring his belief that Dale Earnhardt Jr. would win this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup.
The speech was meant to address a recent controversy that brought to the fore the demographic split facing his campaign. While he has rung up big primary and caucus victories in a number of diverse states, he has done so on the strength of dominating performances among a few demographics. With this speech, he hoped to quell the fears of and finally win over a key electorate, racing fans.
“Born to a white race car driving father from North Carolina, and a white homemaking mother also from North Carolina, Dale Junior truly represents what the founding fathers of stock car racing envisioned when they boldly drove in circles at illegal speeds for the first time,” Obama said. “When the Declaration of Indepence was signed that fateful day in 1776, just across the street from where we stand, it was held that all men are created equal. While I believe those words with all my heart, Thomas Jefferson must have never seen this Earnhardt kid, because this sum’bitch can drive.”
While acknowledging the talent of Earnhardt’s new Hendrick Motorsports teammate, two-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, Obama projected confidence in his prediction. “The cynics like to point out that his best finish came in 2003 when he came in third place in the standings, and we can debate that all the way through the end of the season,” the Illinois Democrat argued. “But take one look at the majestic number 88 car, its Mountain Dew-sponsored paint job gleaming as he weaves through traffic, and you know that this man represents the change Americans have been yearning for after years of being forced to watch the divisive Jeff Gordon win Cup after Cup.”
Obama also addressed those so-called cynics. “Some would have you believe that I am naive enough to think that this will be easy, that Dale Jr. will just waltz to the checkered flag this year. Of course, I understand the challenges that he will face along the way. From spin outs to popped tires, pouring rain and 10-car pileups he will have no chance of avoiding, the road ahead will be tough. But with dreams on his dashboard and conviction in his heart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will continue to press forward, and slightly to the left.”
The speech was greeted with optimism by some voters, while others remained skeptical. “Ever since he won them back to back Busch Series championships in ’98 and ’99, I’ve been believin’ that Junior was our greatest hope. To see that Senator Obama has that wise kind of judgment too, makes him okay in my book,” remarked Winston Fontana, a contractor from Memphis.
Still harboring lingering doubts was Kerry Dover, of Tuscaloosa. “Sure, he’s had a good start with Hendrick, but that illegal rear spoiler he was racing with really says something about his character. Call it guilt by association, but why would Obama tie himself to someone like that?”