Two weeks ago, NASCAR driver Brandon Brown called himself a victim of circumstance. He won his first Xfinity Series race at Talladega in October; during a post-race interview, fans in the stands nearby started chanting “fuck Joe Biden.” The NBC reporter speaking to Brown, either through a hopeless attempt to cover up the profanity or total obliviousness to what was actually being said, remarked, “Let’s Go Brandon.” And thus, a new merchandising opportunity for the disgruntled right wing was born.
Brown bemoaned the association in a profile by the New York Times’ Ben Smith published earlier this month. He said it was damaging his appeal to sponsors, whose support his livelihood depends upon. He wasted no time expanding on his thoughts with an op-ed in Newsweek, saying he was relegated to “the passenger seat of my own viral moment,” one that should have been celebratory but instead turned into something he never wanted:
Racing at 200 miles per hour doesn’t give me a lot of time to think about politics. And even if it did, I have always preferred the roar of the engine to the roar of my voice.
My job is to run the next lap faster than the last one. Politics has never been that interesting to me. Though, like most, I have always had the impression that politicians were likely the cause of more problems than they were the solutions.
On Thursday, the driver who said that he had “no interest in leading some political fight” announced a sponsorship by a cryptocurrency named after the very slogan that was ruining his career the other day.
LGBcoin — which brands itself as “America’s Coin” in the team’s press release — began trading on November 9 and is currently worth $0.000001187 at the time of writing. As it happens this isn’t Brown’s first foray into crypto in the context of his racing career: Brandonbilt Motorsports, the Xfinity Series team Brown races for that is owned by his father, was sponsored by a cryptocurrency called Cono in 2018. Cono supposedly paid the team for that sponsorship in its own coin, which had only launched a day prior to the deal being announced.
From what I can gather, Cono’s last transfer occurred March 4, 2018 — not even a month after it began. LGBcoin has lasted almost two whole months, so I suppose Brown believes it has longer legs. You’d imagine he sees real potential in it, considering his self-professed disdain for politics.
Brown ended his Newsweek editorial saying he was “no longer going to be silent about the situation I find myself in, and why millions of Americans are chanting my name. I hear them, even if Washington does not.”
Ninety-nine percent of my time this upcoming NASCAR season will be spent trying to take the next lap a little faster. But, when I have the opportunity and the time, I am not going to hesitate to speak about issues I am passionate about, or the problems we face together as Americans.
Those issues being the price of gas and that “millions of people are struggling right now.” Because of the increased price of some goods, such as gas, I guess — it’s hard to say because Brown doesn’t really go into detail. He promises he won’t hesitate to speak out about this stuff in the future though, so maybe we just need to hold tight for specifics. In the meantime, his car next season will fly the flag of the political flight he has no interest in leading.
Update Dec. 30, 2021 at 5:12 p.m. ET: As per NASCAR journalist Jim Utter, the LGBCoin sponsorship has not been approved by NASCAR. The series says that the team “jumped the gun” in its announcement.