According to the latest polls, Washington’s gubernatorial race is practically neck-and-neck.
Dino Rossi has chalked up at least one victory, though, taking the checkered flag at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe two weeks ago.
Rather it was the new black decaled Dino Rossi racecar which came in first on August 2 in a fifty lap sprint. According to a motorsports article posted by the Everett Herald, the car is sponsored by University Mechanical Contractors, Inc.Mike Holden, a 28-year old realtor with John L. Scott from Snohomish County, drives the car. He started racing when he was 11 – like most young drivers in the sport – glued to the wheel of a suped-up go-cart.
This was Holden’s first victory in the Whelen All America Series, a rookie league for aspiring NASCAR drivers. He is fourth in the state standings for Super Stocks.
Most of the vehicles in the series are tube-framed racers with 410 hp crate engines designed to replicate Impalas, Monte Carlos or Ford Fusions. The “Dino Rossi” car is a mocked-up Cadillac CTS.
Republicans always seem to go in style.
Before this year, Holden said he was pretty politically apathetic and wasn’t really motivated to pay much attention to what was happening in Olympia.
However, over the past year he had become frustrated by the state’s political leadership. The issue with the Seattle SuperSonics being moved to Oklahoma City was a tipping point. He blames Gov. Christine Gregoire during the last legislative session for not doing more to keep the NBA franchise in town.
Democratic House Speaker Frank Chopp’s treatment of NASCAR legend Richard Petty also caused the young driver to overheat. Chopp accused the Hall of Fame driver of being a drunk and being picked up for a DUI. Petty was in the state lobbying for state assistance to build a NASCAR track in Kitsap County.
Holden said the two incidents have made Washington state a laughingstock to the rest of the country.
“What a bunch of stuck-up, embarrassing snobs.”
Initially Holden was nervous about having a politician’s name plastered over his vehicle. Sports fans are stereotypically viewed as not being particularly inclined to favor elected officials. The response, however, was contrary to the driver’s expectations.
“It seems to work pretty good out there. We have had a lot of positive feedback,” Holden said describing the fan-base at Evergreen Speedway. “That’s the demographic supporting Dino.”
The Dino Rossi car is scheduled for five more races this season. There are also rumors that a sponsored race named after the gubernatorial candidate is in the works.
Extra Laps: The idea of a racecar sponsorship for political candidates received added attention this election season when it was reported that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s campaign was approached by NASCAR’s BAM Racing.
Reportedly the Obama camp turned down the sponsorship offer and a number of reasons have been cited.
Similar overtures were made to John McCain. His wife, Cindy, is a licensed racecar driver and she recently was in the pace car at IndyCar’s Nashville Superspeedway in July.