- Jeff Gluck @jeff_gluck USA TODAY Sports

Republican presidenti­al candi- date Donald Trump picked up a few more endorsemen­ts Monday, this time from the NASCAR world.

NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France appeared at a rally in Valdosta, Ga., to express support for Trump along with NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott and drivers Chase Elliott, Ryan Newman and David Ragan.

“If the people that like and watch NASCAR vote for Donald Trump, they can cancel the election right now,” Trump said to cheers. “Nobody else can win. Nobody.”

After Trump introduced France as a man who has done a “legendary” job for NASCAR, France took the microphone briefly to praise a man he has known for more than 20 years.

“He wins with his family,” France said. “Any of his children, you’d be proud of have them as part of your family. That’s how I judge a winner, how somebody manages their family and raises their family.”

In a statement released by Trump’s campaign, France added the candidate’s “leadership and strength are desperatel­y needed.”

Bill Elliott, whom Trump called “one of the great drivers of the world, in history,” told the crowd, “What (Trump) can do for our country, I’m all for it.”

“We need a change, guys,” Elliott said. “That’s all there is to it. And I think this is the man for the job.”

Chase Elliott, Bill’s son and the Hendrick Motorsport­s rookie who replaced Jeff Gordon this season, was introduced as “the hottest young driver in the world” by Trump.

“This is a great man,” Chase Elliott said. “I think he’s a guy who can do some great things for us.”

Trump beamed at each of the endorsemen­ts, saying he could not have been happier to have a NASCAR presence at the rally.

That was a departure from July, when NASCAR pulled its Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series award ceremonies from a Trump resort near Miami in the wake of the busi- nessman’s comments about Mexican immigrants.

Trump was defiant at the time, saying in a statement it was no big loss to have the banquet leave his resort and that he planned to keep the organizati­on’s “very substantia­l deposit.”

“NASCAR has already apologized to me,” he said then.

Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis had pushed for NASCAR to leave Trump’s resort in a June 30 letter to France after what Lemonis said were Trump’s “blatantly bigoted and racist” comments about Mexicans.

“Our company will not stand to support any person or organizati­on that associates with such beliefs and we feel strongly about distancing ourselves from any negative and discrimina­tory comments made against any gender, ethnicity, age group or so forth,” Lemonis wrote. “I would hope that the entire NASCAR organizati­on would agree with my sentiments.”

Several days later, NASCAR spokesman David Higdon told reporters at Daytona Internatio­nal Speedway that the sanctionin­g body had been “looking at our own relationsh­ip with (Trump) and how it may have an impact and ultimately made the decision it does not make sense to continue that.”

 ?? ANDREW HARNIK, AP ?? NASCAR CEO Brian France, right, has known Donald Trump for decades.
ANDREW HARNIK, AP NASCAR CEO Brian France, right, has known Donald Trump for decades.

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