Steve Phelps, the NASCAR president, said Friday that the organization does not want to be associated with the “Let’s go, Brandon” movement, a chant heard frequently at its events and others in the South and Midwest.
Phelps said NASCAR will pursue action against any illegal use of its trademarks on merchandise boasting the slogan, which have started to sprout.
“We will pursue whoever (is using logos) and get that stuff,” Phelps said in reports. “That’s not OK. It’s not OK that you’re using our trademarks illegally, regardless of whether we agree with what the position is.”
NASCAR was the inadvertent ground zero for the “Let’s go, Brandon” movement. NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast was interviewing winning driver Brandon Brown on his first career NASCAR win when the crowd broke into a chant of “F**k Joe Biden.”
Stavast either misheard or was nimbly trying to avoid an FCC fine for using one of the words that can’t be said on television. She told Brown that the crowd was chanting “Let’s go, Brandon,” and lo, a legend was born.
“It’s an unfortunate situation and I feel for Brandon, I feel for Kelli,” Phelps said. “I think, unfortunately, it speaks to the state of where we are as a country. We do not want to associate ourselves with politics, the left or the right.”
But Phelps’ statement flies in the face of past NASCAR history. President Donald Trump was the honorary starter at the Daytona 500 in 2020 and was rapturously received. NASCAR drivers have also appeared at Trump rallies, and some have spoken.
NASCAR also came out strongly on social justice issues last year, banning the display of the Confederate flag, a longtime staple at its events.
Phelps claimed NASCAR respects the presidential office.
“Do we like the fact that it kind of started with NASCAR and then is gaining ground out elsewhere? No, we’re not happy about that,” Phelps said.
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