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via Getty

via Getty

Donald Trump made history at the Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend. Making his return to the world of NASCAR for the first time since the 2020 Daytona 500,  Trump became the first US President, current or former, to attend a race at the iconic North Carolina racetrack. Naturally, many of NASCAR’s biggest stakeholders were eager to have a conversation with Donald Trump as he donned a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat at the Crown Jewel.

From Austin Dillon to Richard Childress, several prominent names ensured no stone was left unturned when it came to catering to the former president. Speaking of which, the ‘King’ of NASCAR himself shared a wholesome photo with the former POTUS on his social media, however, not everyone was impressed.

‘You’re the best,’ Richard Petty was all smiles when meeting the former President

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When the news Donald Trump’s presence at the Coca-Cola 600 was revealed earlier last week, the NASCAR community was split down the middle. But when it came to the NASCAR paddock, many stakeholders were more than happy to host the former president in their booths. Sitting with Richard Childress Racing in the RCR pit box, Trump could be seen taking photos with pit crew members and being the center of attention.

But that’s not all. Throughout the day, Trump met many NASCAR drivers as well, among whom was Childress’ grandson, Austin Dillon. As the evening continued to unfold, a moment between Donald Trump and Richard Petty, who is arguably the living embodiment of the NASCAR spirit, ‘trumped’ all other moments. When rain took over Charlotte Motor Speedway, Trump and Richard Petty ran into each other in the closed spectator hall.

In a video shared by insider Bo Loudon on X, Petty can be seen grinning as he shakes the hand of the former president. According to the insider, Richard Petty had told the president, “You’re the best,” as the two embraced each other. With how the interaction went down, it’s safe to say Richard Petty enjoyed every moment of meeting Trump. Notably, voicing his excitement, the King then also took to Instagram later to share, “Never know who you’re going to run into at the racetrack!” 

Although Richard Petty made headlines for not endorsing Christian Castelli’s 2024 campaign, it’s well known that the King has been a ‘life-long conservative’ and heavily involved in Republican politics. In fact, he once ran for Secretary of State in North Carolina in 1996, but lost to Democrat Elaine Marshall.

So naturally, his eagerness to meet Donald Trump, apart from his status as a former president, may also be attributed to his political inclinations.

In fact, Trump and Petty’s friendship also goes back as well. In 2016, he endorsed Trump as a Presidential candidate and shared his reasons as well.

He said, “When Obama got in, his big deal was change. But the changes have gone the wrong way, so there needs to be more change. I’m not looking forward to anything staying the same. I’m looking for the changes that Obama promised. The deal with Trump is that nobody knows deep down what his decisions might be.”

“We need that (uncertainty) because it’s gotten like, ‘Well, the United States isn’t going to do anything, so we’ll just do what we want to do. At least, they’ll keep sending us money.’ Well, if nothing else, Trump would quit sending money, and they’d dry up,” he added.

However, it seems the NASCAR fans weren’t too thrilled at the show of camaraderie between the two men in Charlotte as several took to social media to voice their opinions.

“Don’t stain your legacy,” NASCAR fans pull no punches against the King for meeting Donald Trump

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Even with the Petty family revealing their conservative interests back in February, many fans took to virtue-signaling and calling out The King. One user shared their frustration, “Well, I do have to say I am extremely disappointed” whereas another asked the King to “do better please Richard”

It seems that many users have not forgotten Donald Trump’s war of words with Bubba Wallace in 2020. After Wallace made statements about a noose being found in his garage, which led to the Confederate flag being banned from NASCAR, the former President had publicly called out the 23XI diver for spreading a “hoax”. Fans highlighted, “He literally verbally attacked Bubba while he driving for you but ok”

Petty made appearances on stage during Trump’s Presidential campaign in 2016 to endorse him. Hence, it was not surprising to see him being all welcoming to the former POTUS. But at the same time, other users didn’t understand why NASCAR drivers and stakeholders were so supportive of Donald Trump. One fan inquired, “I dont know why y’all praise him so much, he never really did anything” whereas another felt Petty’s short interaction with Trump was enough to deserve an unfollow; “And…unfollow Richard Petty 😢😢😢😢😢

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A user also felt that the Petty’s could be impacted by this relationship as he wrote, “Oh, no. We already knew you were a MAGA. Please don’t stain your legacy by doing this.”

Well, it’s safe to say that politics is a tricky thing! Wouldn’t you agree?