September 15, 2008

ROLLING WITTH THE KING:

McCain finds friends at NASCAR race in N.H.: Says drivers are 'heroes' to forces in Iraq (Fluto Shinzawa, 9/15/08, Boston Globe)

McCain was in friendly territory for several reasons. In 2000, McCain scored a New Hampshire primary win. Eight years later, after his rival Mike Huckabee won in the Iowa caucuses, McCain regained momentum in New Hampshire once again by recording his second primary victory in the state.

In September 2006, before he had declared his candidacy, McCain first visited the Loudon track (capacity 105,000). In May 2007, McCain spent time at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., for the Coca-Cola 600, which takes place every Memorial Day weekend. Virtually every race team is based in the greater Charlotte area.

"I want to thank you for your support of the men and women of the military," McCain told the drivers yesterday. "It's uplifting to these young people."

"When I'm in Iraq and Afghanistan, they're watching you," he said. "You are their role models. You are their heroes, and they are ours. I just want to say that NASCAR heroes, competitors, and teams are supporting the men and women who are serving in a most exemplary fashion."

NASCAR icon Richard Petty, the seven-time champion, led McCain on a tour of the garage area. McCain made stops in front of the haulers transporting the machines sponsored by the US Army (the No. 8 Chevrolet of Aric Almirola) and the Air Force (the No. 21 of Bill Elliott). Before the race, McCain shook the hand of each driver during introductions.

"It's great to be back in the state I love so much," McCain told the crowd.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 15, 2008 7:08 AM
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