First, there was the barbecue sauce. Now there’s an official stock car for the Democratic National Convention.
Just in time for Food Lion Speed Street events uptown, the local host committee unveiled the “Powered by the People” stock car on Friday outside the NASCAR Hall of Fame – a Dodge Charger decked out with 3,502 stenciled names of donors who contributed $5 or more. The convention and host committee logos are on there, too.
The stock car promotion is a fundraising campaign that had the backing of longtime Charlotte racing promoter H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, who attended Friday’s unveiling. The money – amounting to at least $17,510 – goes toward the $36.6 million the host committee needs to raise to pay for the September convention.
Names on the car included “Dusty’s Mom,” “Richard J. Mace, USMC Ret.,” and “Diana Ross” – the host committee wasn’t sure if it was Diana Ross of the Supremes fame.
Also named on the car: Obama campaign guru David Axelrod.
The host committee got the car from the Richard Petty Driving Experience, and paid for the “wrapping,” said Dan Murrey, the host committee’s executive director.
On Friday, the car was delivered to the outdoor plaza at the hall of fame. But Murrey said it was drivable.
It could make its debut spin at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Labor Day, during the public party being sponsored by convention organizers.
“A lot of young race drivers had been calling me, wanting to drive it,” Wheeler said.
A registered Democrat who said he likes President Barack Obama, Wheeler was effusive about the convention: “This is the biggest thing we’ve had since the gold rush in 1829.”
Earlier this month, organizers announced the DNC’s three official barbecue sauces – in tomato-, vinegar- and mustard-style – and are selling them as a $25 set to raise money.
Murrey said the stock car and barbecue fundraising campaigns have allowed ordinary people across the country “to leave their mark on this part of Charlotte’s history.”
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