Daytona 500 with only imports? DNC’s auto bailout attack against Romney challenged

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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The Democratic National Committee has focused much of their pre-general election ammunition at former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The latest shot from the DNC came in the form of an email Sunday prior to the scheduled start of the Daytona 500. The attack suggested that if Romney had his way, foreign auto manufacturers would dominate the NASCAR event.

“If Mitt Romney had had his way and we had ‘let Detroit go bankrupt,'” the DNC’s Elizabeth Chan wrote, “today we’d be watching a Daytona Beach speedway full of foreign cars. Detroit would not be producing stock cars—or any cars at all.”

The United Auto Workers, who have their own ad campaign on site at the race in Daytona Beach, echoed the sentiment.

But Fox News Channel’s Steve Brown explained Sunday that the claim could be misleading as the cars set to race at the Daytona 500 aren’t technically manufactured in Detroit.

The Democratic National Committee — always looking for an opportunity to poke fun at Mitt Romney particularly these days about his objection to the federal use of cash to bailout GM and Chrysler, essentially sent out to media this picture of what the Daytona 500 might look like if Mitt Romney had his way. And the DNC notes 31 of those 42 [sic] cars were made by the U.S. automakers.

Well, the fact of the matter is that none of those cars are essentially made by those assembly lines here in the United States. Four seasons ago they went to a uniform car. So, while there are different stickers on the car they are all the same car. They are not the ones that roll off at assembly line. That’s the old school days, Shannon [Bream] when you know, Richard Petty used to run and Allison Brothers and Cale Yarborough and even up to the time of Dale Earnhardt.

So, the folks at DNC in their haste to make fun of Romney’s visit there may have erred and didn’t do their homework on what NASCAR cars are actually from, or where NASCAR cars are actually from.

Woodhouse explained to The Daily Caller that the spirit of the claim is still valid.

“The fact is these cars are sponsored by American manufacturers who would not be in business if Mitt Romney had gotten his way and Detroit and the big three automakers had gone bankrupt,” Woodhouse wrote in an email. “But we do thank FOX for giving the issue of Mitt Romney turning his back on the American automobile industry more airtime. If they want to argue about the difference between sponsored and made — they can go right ahead.” (RELATED: More on the Democratic National Committee)

The current field for the Daytona 500, set to start at 12 p.m. ET on Monday due to a rain delay, is made up of 43 cars and includes 13 Fords, 16 Chevrolets, three Dodges and 11 Toyotas. General Motors, which manufacturers Chevrolets, and Chrysler, which manufactures Dodges, were part of a 2009 federally funded restructuring.

Ford avoided a similar takeover, but was aided by a subsidized $5.9 billion loan from the U.S. Energy Department. Toyota, a Japanese company, did not receive federal assistance.

As Brown explained, in the NASCAR premier series, now called the “Sprint Cup Series,” the competing automobiles are primarily built outside of Charlotte, N.C., and are not the same prototypes as those that come off the U.S. auto manufactures’ assembly lines in Michigan.

In 2007, the series transitioned to what was then called “the car of tomorrow.” Those cars are built to a “common template” regardless of the manufacturer label on the automobile — be it Ford, Chevy, Dodge or Toyota.

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