CREDIT: ANDREW HARNIK, AP
NASCAR's message that CEO Brian France's endorsement of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was a personal and private decision hasn't apparently reached the candidate himself.
While speaking at a rally in Concord, North Carolina, on Monday, Trump thanked France for his support. France, along with drivers Bill and Chase Elliott, Ryan Newman and David Ragan, endorsed Trump last week in Georgia before the Super Tuesday primaries.
While NASCAR has contended that the endorsement was a personal one, Trump crowed about getting NASCAR's endorsement the day after France took the stage. And he did so again on Monday.
"I want to thank NASCAR," Trump said. "Brian France was with us last week at a venue and he got up on behalf of NASCAR. And Brian's an amazing guy, he's done some job I'll tell you that. And for them to endorse me was really a very great honor. Thank you very much."
A NASCAR spokesperson said Monday afternoon that "NASCAR has not and does not endorse political candidates."
It's no secret that Trump is prone to big and broad statements. However, his continued declaration that NASCAR is supporting him further clouds why it was such a poor decision for France to take the stage with him in the first place. France is no stranger to politics; he endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012. But even without Trump's repeated statements, his presence on the stage as NASCAR's CEO makes it very easy for many to believe the sanctioning body is providing an official endorsement.
France even wrote an open letter to NASCAR employees last week defending his decision. In that letter, he encouraged NASCAR employees to make their own decisions regarding who to vote for and "Needless to say, with any candidate that one may endorse, there are many positions or policies that run counter to your beliefs, as is the case here with me."
Trump also picked up the support of another NASCAR figure on Monday. Mark Martin, who has previously voiced his support of Trump on Twitter, appeared on stage with the candidate.
We don't have to clarify to you that the wall Martin was referring to had nothing to do with NASCAR tracks.