GOP Senators! Why do you hate NASCAR?

by Bruce Webb
(h/t to Hilzoy commenter nortzax for the idea)

I mean it is bad enough that failure of the Big 3 means the loss of maybe 3 million jobs. Why are you trying to put Dale Earnhardt Jr. out of a job?

Seriously what would the economic impact be to red states if not only NASCAR but all the other car and truck racing circuits collapsed? NASCAR made a run at getting Washington State to build a track here at taxpayer expense with the claim that the positive economic impact would dwarf the expenditure. (The Leg didn’t bite). But you can’t deny the economic impact of having some hundreds of thousands of fans visiting town for a couple of weekends a year.
NASCAR schedule Sure there are some blue states on the list. But this article claims the impact of the Daytona 500 alone is over $1 BILLION Paddocktalk “Well we stuck it right to the Yankees. Ha Ha! Too bad there won’t be any races at Kentucky Speedway this year. Or ever again.” Somehow I am not sure Mitch McConnell really thought this one through. How much is he really willing to put on the line to have GM workers take a $3/hr paycut a couple of years earlier?

Plus I hear football is kind of popular in both red and blue states. Who is going to pay for all the truck commercials? I suppose that as long as Americans don’t give up drinking beer that televised sports will continue. But the economic impact of the Big 3 goes far beyond parts makers and car dealers. The GOP is playing with dynamite here, the political ads practically write themselves.

UPDATE: Skip Sauer of The Sports Economist was also all over this one on Tuesday, though somewhat cautious:

My sense is that brand loyalty — NASCAR is the marketing king of sport — may be the key factor. It is not uncommon in NASCAR country to see window stickers on a Ford truck that show a punkish-looking boy pissing on the Chevy logo. A strong form of negative brand identity, I submit. If the Ford and Chevy brands are irreparably damaged, will those loyalties transfer to Honda and Toyota?

UPDATE TWO: Must have been something in the air. The NYT weighs in: NASCAR sponsors hit by sticker shock