NASCAR’s Corey LaJoie goes all-in on Trump 2020 car design, grapples with strong backlash

NASCAR driver Corey LaJoie will expand his partnership with the Trump 2020 campaign over his next nine races, with his Go Fas Racing team establishing a deal that will feature positive references to President Donald Trump all over his vehicle.

LaJoie had previously raced with a small rectangle bearing the phrase “Trump 2020” on the side of his car. The expanded deal was facilitated by the Patriots of America PAC, which supports Trump’s reelection campaign.

It’s possible LaJoie carries mixed feelings about his team’s explicit support of Trump, who opposes the Black Lives Matter movement LaJoie’s competitor and friend Bubba Wallace supports. Wallace, who is Black, has publicly shared his experiences with racism in NASCAR over the past few months.

LaJoie’s brother responded to social media criticism about the paint scheme on Wednesday, suggesting LaJoie didn’t have control over the deal.

“It’s tough to read some of the things people say about your family when they know so little,” Casey LaJoie wrote. “So many things I could say, but Love always wins. I’ll be off social media for a while.”

NASCAR has become an unlikely political lightning rod after it banned the Confederate flag from all events and provided Wallace support after a noose was found in his garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway two weekends ago. The noose incident was later determined to be a misunderstanding but in no way a hoax.

Trump has been an incendiary figure in U.S. race relations throughout his presidency, but particularly during a nationwide protest movement against police brutality and mistreatment of Black people in the country. He has advocated for unusual use of force against protesters and deemed Black Lives Matter a “symbol of hate.”

LaJoie was one of many drivers to publicly embrace Wallace following the noose incident, helping Wallace finish the Geico 500 despite a fuel shortage.

The Go Fas Racing press release announcing the support of Trump attributed a quote to LaJoie speaking positively about the partnership, though oftentimes such statements are written by PR professionals. LaJoie did not mention Trump by name.

“With an estimated 75 million NASCAR fans out there, I was surprised that about 15 million of those fans are not registered voters,” read LaJoie’s statement. “I will give my best effort to get NASCAR fans registered to vote, through our team efforts on and off the track. When they see the car, hopefully it makes them race to the polls in November.”

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