AVONDALE, Ariz. — NASCAR president Steve Phelps addressed several topics — including the sport’s COVID-19 vaccination rate, schedule changes and the origins of “Let’s go, Brandon” — Friday at Phoenix Raceway during his annual state of the sport press conference.
The one-mile track is hosting NASCAR’s championship weekend for the second consecutive year, with the Truck Series race Friday, the Xfinity Series race Saturday and culminating in the Cup Series’ finale on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, NBC).
Originating in NASCAR last month, the phrase “Let’s go, Brandon” quickly became code around the country for “[Expletive] Joe Biden.” And NASCAR president Steve Phelps isn’t thrilled about it, calling it an “unfortunate situation.”
At Talladega Superspeedway in early October, driver Brandon Brown won his first Xfinity Series race. During his on-track interview immediately afterward, the crowd in the grandstands was chanting. Although NBC Sports initially said the fans were chanting, “Let’s go, Brandon!” it was explicitly clear they were actually chanting, “[Expletive] Joe Biden!”
“I feel for Brandon,” Phelps said. “I think unfortunately it speaks to the state of where we are as a country. … Do we like the fact that it kind of started with NASCAR and then is gaining ground elsewhere? No, we’re not happy about that. But we will continue to make sure that we have respect for the office of the president.”
Here are five other key takeaways…