The White House is dispatching Michelle Obama to serve as Grand Marshal of the Nov. 20 season-ending NASCAR Ford 400, a move that seems clearly designed to woo NASCAR voters while also burnishing the first lady’s credentials as a regular gal.
Mrs. Obama, who has incurred some bad publicity for taking luxurious jaunts to South Africa and Spain while often being photographed in expensive clothing and accoutrements, has lately been spotted shopping at Target and hanging out at the baseball park, attending the first game of the World Series.
The NASCAR appearance is billed as part of the first lady’s “Joining Forces” initiative for military families, and Mrs. Obama’s Joining Forces co-chair, “Second Lady” Dr. Jill Biden, will also serve as Grand Marshal.
The Ford 400 is held at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Florida is perhaps the most critical presidential battleground state in the country.
But Mrs. Obama’s presence at one of the biggest NASCAR events of the year will surely be noticed throughout the region where the sport if popular, which includes many other critical swing states like Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Missouri.
Indeed, the “NASCAR vote” has taken a place alongside “soccer moms” as a coveted demographic for presidential candidates.
According to a White House statement, the NASCAR organization will itself participate in the Joining Forces initiative
As part of the season-ending NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship race, NASCAR will rally its millions of fans at the speedway and online to serve military families through the holiday season by asking them to visit www.NASCAR.com/Unites and JoiningForces.gov to find service opportunities and ideas to give back to those who serve our country.
The crowd at the Ford 400 will include some 5,000 active duty and retired military personnel, according to the White House. Military families will get a BBQ lunch where Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden will deliver remarks, along with NASCAR officials and drivers.