It was on July 4, 1984 that Ronald Reagan became the first sitting president to attend a stock car race. It's not uncommon for sitting presidents to attend sporting events. Usually these events are limited to baseball, football, or basketball. Racing remains an oddity. That is not to say there has not been a president attending a race since Reagan; rather, that presidents only pay attention to racing during election years.
George H.W. Bush attended the 1992 Daytona 500. He would lose the election nine months later to Bill Clinton. Clinton also attended the Daytona 500 that year. After losing the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary, he received little attention at Daytona, but would win on Super Tuesday one month later. I recall reading an interview Mark Martin gave a few years back where he described being asked to act as a tour guide for Clinton because NASCAR thought, "They're both from Arkansas so they probably know each other."
George W. Bush attended the 2004 Daytona 500. He made a big scene of appearing before the start of the race. Then he left about halfway through. Bush won his reelection by a factor of Florida.
Now Michelle Obama and Jill Biden are planning to attend the season finale in Miami. First ladies do lack the political baggage of sitting presidents; they can represent the state without representing the government. There does remain and agenda here, the prerace ceremonies will be used to recognize local service members and their families. I just hope partisan hacks don't try to politicize this.
It would be nice if we had a genuine racing fan in the White House. By "genuine" I mean someone who would attend races at venues such as Martinsville, Darlington, or Watkins Glen while not running for office. Of course I wouldn't vote for someone based on what sports (s)he likes; that's just dumb.
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