Local Politics

NASCAR legend endorses McCain at N.C. race

Posted October 11, 2008 5:18 p.m. EDT
Updated October 13, 2008 9:40 a.m. EDT

— Republican presidential candidate John McCain picked up an endorsement on Saturday from NASCAR legend Richard Petty, according to press release from the McCain campaign.

Petty made the announcement at the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord Saturday.

"What we need right now in these uncertain times is a steady hand on the wheel – a leader we can trust to put country first, ahead of politics," Petty said in a statement. "John McCain has always done that, and if you need proof, think about the sacrifices he made for America. I don't think there is any question that John McCain is a proud American and he has done more to better America than anyone.

During his career Richard Petty won 200 races – a NASCAR record – and a record seven Winston Cup championships.

McCain’s wife, Cindy, participated in Bank of America 500 events as honorary race director. She rode in the pace car and made pre-race remarks.

The McCains frequently visit NASCAR events. The two attended the Coca-Cola 600 at the speedway near Charlotte last year.

The McCain camp has stepped up campaigning in North Carolina after polls show him and his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, in a virtual dead heat. McCain will appear at rally in Wilmington Monday, following a rally by his running mate, Sarah Palin, in Greenville last Tuesday.

Obama has been aggressively campaigning in North Carolina. He has made four speeches in the state in the past three weeks, and his surrogates – wife Michele and running mate Joe Biden – have also recently made personal appearances.

North Carolina has not voted for a Democrat for president since Jimmy Carter in 1976.