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This weekend NASCAR will test the limits of Obama’s statement

By admin | August 27, 2009

By Richard Allen

Just a few short days ago President Obama lauded NASCAR as a “uniquely American sport”. That statement could potentially be proven false in every possible way very soon. After this weekend’s Nationwide Series race in Montreal NASCAR could well enter a strange realm of foreign participation.

Think of this for a moment. Marcos Ambrose is without question one of the best road course racers in NASCAR. He has won two Nationwide Series races at Watkins Glen, including one just weeks ago. He seemingly had the race in Montreal won on one occasion only to be spun by a car that had been ordered to go to the back but was allowed to remain in place for no other reason than to spin Ambrose.

With Ambrose’s road course abilities established, think of the possible ramifications to the Obama statement referenced above should Ambrose do what he will likely be favored to do this weekend. He, an Australian, could win a NASCAR sanctioned race in Canada driving a Japanese car. And the win would come in the French speaking part of Canada, no less.

I don’t know if anyone keeps up with such things, but it would almost certainly have to be the first time in NASCAR history that there would be a winner with absolutely no American ties.

Neither the driver, the brand of car nor the venue will be of the United States. Not even the language spoken over the public address system would be that predominately spoken in the United States(for now).

The next closest instance I can think of was when Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya won a Nationwide race in Mexico, but he was driving a Dodge in that event.

There are other foreign born drivers with a chance to win this race. I am simply counting Ambrose as the most likely.

Perhaps the brass at NASCAR will be patting themselves on the back because they will have truly taken their sport global should these events come to pass. Almost certainly, the leadership will enjoy every bit as much success globally as they have by removing the sport from its traditional roots and into places such as Los Angeles and Miami.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not rooting against Marcos Ambrose. It would be almost impossible to not like the guy. I’m just saying NASCAR will enter into a whole new realm if he indeed does win.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

Topics: Articles |

8 Responses to “This weekend NASCAR will test the limits of Obama’s statement”

  1. Steve Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Yeah, Montoya was driving a Dodge all right, however they were most probably built in Canada or Mexico.

  2. Marc Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Agreed, that Dodge was built in Canada

  3. Marc Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    And I forgot, I think dodge was owned at the time by a german company.

  4. Marc Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    And while I’m at it, this is not true: “as they have by removing the sport from its traditional roots and into places such as Los Angeles”

    NASCAR racing at all of the following venues at the dates noted:

    Ascot Stadium Los Angeles, CA 1957 1961
    Bay Meadows Speedway San Mateo, CA 1954 1956
    California State Fairgrounds Sacramento, CA 1956 1961
    Capitol Speedway Sacramento, CA 1957 1957
    Carrell Speedway Gardena, CA 1951 1954
    Eureka Speedway Eureka, CA 1956 1957
    Marchbanks Speedway Hanford, CA 1951 1961
    Merced Fairgrounds Merced, CA 1956 1956 Go
    Oakland Stadium Oakland, CA 1951 1954
    Riverside International Raceway Riverside, CA 1958 1988 Go
    Santa Clara Fairgrounds San Jose, CA 1957 1957 Go
    Willow Springs Speedway Lancaster, CA 1956 1957

    That looks very much like California was very much part of NASCARS “roots” from shortly after its birth.

    And BTW, so was Arizona:
    Arizona State Fairgrounds Phoenix, AZ 1951 1960
    Tucson Rodeo Grounds Tucson, AZ 1955 1955
    Memphis-Arkansas Speedway LeHi, AR 1954 1957

    But don’t let reality intrude on your “reality.”

  5. Wenzer Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    And aren’t a lot of Toyota Camrys built in the U.S. these days?

  6. JR Says:
    August 29th, 2009 at 9:55 am

    This article is more about Rich showing us which way he leans politically. Why even mention Obama and his comments made in an effort to show his hospitality to the visiting folks from NASCAR? Everybody involved in NASCAR, from the fans to the media to the France family,has said that this is a “uniquely American sport”. But it’s Obama who is singled out as the one who could be proven wrong “in every possible way very soon”. As is pointed out by readers with brains, a win in a Toyota by a driver from Australia in French speaking Canada is not the death knell for all things American. In fact, I think that we should start viewing ourselves as citizens of the world rather than simply Americans and celebrate accomplishments of people regardless of where they come from or where their accomplishments took place. I am now returning the soapbox to the next person with a opinion.

  7. Marc Says:
    August 31st, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Wezner, why yes, Camrys are built in the US and in fact are the only NASCAR vehicles that are built there.

  8. Justin Says:
    September 1st, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Regardless of where the statement came from, whether it was Obama, or Bill France, or God himself, after the race on Sun, it is clear that the Canadians love NASCAR racing as much as we do (as long as there are some Canadian drivers for them to root for, note the mass of people that left the stands after Carpentier was knocked out of the race)

    But does anyone really listen to Obama at this point? Seriously? Noit to get political, but he railed the Bush administration for his deficit, and in 90 days, he amassed a deficit larger than the previous 43 Presidents combined….. And I am an Independent voter, that voted for BO, just venting some frustration, and hoping America can “unvote” for change real soon……