Daytona 500 2012: Mitt Romney To Attend Race, Report Says

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will attend the Daytona 500 for the second straight year as a VIP guest, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported Tuesday afternoon.

The News-Journal, citing a local campaign volunteer, said Romney canceled plans for a Friday fundraiser hosted by International Speedway Corp. CEO Lesa France Kennedy in order to focus on campaigning in Michigan, where he is struggling in primary polling.

But Romney will still come to Daytona Beach, Fla., for a "quick visit" on the morning of the race, the newspaper said.

NASCAR referred questions about Romney's visit to Daytona International Speedway. The Speedway said nothing has been finalized as of Tuesday evening.

Romney also attended last year's Daytona 500, though he wasn't quite in the same spotlight he is now. He was present in the pre-race drivers' meeting and shook hands with drivers and NASCAR officials.

NASCAR, owned privately by the France family, is mostly a Republican sport with Southern roots. Prominent Republican politicians often make appearances at the Daytona 500, as Romney did last year and Sarah Palin did in 2010.

Former President George W. Bush kicked off his 2004 re-election campaign at the Daytona 500, where he was grand marshal.

President Obama has never been to a NASCAR race, though his wife, Michelle, was co-grand marshal for last year's Chase finale at Homestead.

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