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Obama May Campaign at NASCAR Races

Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) in the coming weeks may become the first Democratic presidential nominee to attend a NASCAR stock car race in 16 years, his campaign confirmed today.

“We would love to make it to a NASCAR race if the schedule permits,” Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki told Roll Call Thursday afternoon. “In the meantime, we plan to continue campaigning in communities across the country including small towns and rural communities where people are dissatisfied with the leadership of the last eight years and looking for a new direction for the country.”

Former President Bill Clinton was the last Democratic presidential nominee to campaign at a NASCAR race, a series official confirmed. Clinton waded among the typically GOP faithful at a race in Darlington, S.C., in 1992.

Obama’s campaign declined to confirm specific races, but the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series — the stock car circuit’s premier division — roars onto Obama’s home turf July 12 for a race at the Chicagoland Speedway, a logical first stop for the candidate. The series two weeks later heads to Indiana, a state where Obama hopes to compete in November, for the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Obama also hopes to compete on Election Day in the likely battlegrounds of Michigan and Virginia, where legions of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart fans will gather for races later this summer.

Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) campaign would not confirm on Thursday whether the Republican presidential nominee has any immediate plans to campaign at a NASCAR race before November.

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