In the March 2016 Turnkey Sports Poll, we asked about the repercussions of NASCAR CEO Brian France’s endorsement of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.  Unsurprisingly, a large portion of respondents, 29%, felt the endorsement would have a positive impact on Trump campaign. What was surprising, to me anyway, was an even larger percentage of respondents felt the endorsement would have NO EFFECT on the campaign.

Negative No Effect Positive Not Sure
Brian France’s Reputation 54% 33% 4% 9%
Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign 4% 60% 29% 7%
NASCAR’s Business 36% 46% 6% 12%
The more I thought about this, though, something didn’t make sense. Anecdotally, if you asked me to describe a NASCAR fan, I’d say that person is probably a white, middle-aged male. If you asked me to describe a Trump supporter, you guessed it: I’d say almost exactly the same thing.

So, if you were asked to buy a sports sponsorship to help “Make America Great Again”, wouldn’t NASCAR be an excellent vehicle to reach your core audience? NASCAR fans look like Trump supporters, and they’re loyal too.

As part of the Sponsor Loyalty Series published in SportsBusiness Journal, Turnkey Intelligence asked NASCAR fans, “Are you more or less likely to consider trying a product/service if that product/service is an official sponsor of NASCAR?” The results:

More likely 72% 51%
Unaffected / less likely 28% 49%
Admittedly, it may be a bit of a stretch to compare Brian France’s endorsement to an “Official Sponsorship” of NASCAR. However, I submit that in the view of the Trump campaign it’s effectively the same thing. That’s a “YUGE” coup for a New York billionaire trying to connect with southern voters on the eve of Super Tuesday.

“Do we love NASCAR?”

-Donald Trump speaking to a crowd on the campus of Valdosta State, in South Georgia