Daytona 500 2012: Rick Santorum To Sponsor NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Car

Rick Santorum went from underdog to frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, and now his campaign is sponsoring a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car it hopes can do the same thing.

The Rick Santorum for President campaign announced Saturday will sponsor Tony Raines' No. 26 Front Row Motorsports car in tomorrow's Daytona 500. Raines is a decided underdog who entered Speedweeks without a guaranteed spot in NASCAR's biggest race, but he made it based on his time trials speed.

"NASCAR and the Daytona 500 are about as American as you can get – and it's great to have my campaign represented by one of these incredible machines," Santorum said in a statement. "The race weekend is a wonderful tradition that we're excited to be a part of as we spread our message.

"I like how Tony Raines turned some heads last weekend with his qualifying run and we'd like to keep turning heads, too. I think we're both looking for a win in the end."

A win for the Santorum car – or even a good run – would out-do his Republican rival Mitt Romney, who is expected to attend the race but likely won't be part of the pre-race ceremonies.

Of course, you have to figure the NASCAR fan base makes up much of the Republican electorate – remember "NASCAR dads" in the 2004 election? – so it's smart for Santorum to spend a few bucks on a car leading into the Michigan primary.

"We know there will be millions of eyes on these cars on Sunday and we know we can help get their message out," car owner Bob Jenkins said. "It's a pretty tight battle for the Republican nomination right now, and the former Senator is right in the thick of it. We hope we're in the thick of it come Sunday out on the racetrack, too."

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