During an appearance at Daytona's International Speedway, Sunday, Mitt Romney tried to play the part of a NASCAR-loving regular Joe, but reminded voters what a clueless rich guy he is by saying, "I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners," according to an Associated Press story. Of course, many people latched onto the quote. With AP reporter in tow, Romney spoke to both NASCAR VIPs privately and fans publicly about his love of cars and the city that makes cars, Detroit, ahead of the primary in Michigan this week, which Romney apparently has enough confidence he'll win that he can manage an out-of-state campaign stop.
The full quote from Romney, when asked if he followed NASCAR, starts with an honest admission that he didn't. "Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans. But I have some great friends that are NASCAR team owners."
Romney's closest rival, Rick Santorum, is also friends with at least one NASCAR owner too since he sponsored a car in this year's Dayton, postponed for the first time ever on account of rain. Santorum, though, doesn't go around making off-putting comments about those influential connections, gaffes that have become common for Romney. Of course, given the less-than-warm welcomes some NASCAR fans (and drivers) have given the Obamas in the past, we don't expect Romney to lose that NASCAR vote should he become to the Republican nominee.