NASCAR Denounces 'Let's Go Brandon' Chant, Will Sue for Use of Slogan With Its Trademarks

NASCAR is distancing itself from the controversial "Let's Go Brandon" chant that has been used to criticize President Joe Biden.

Steve Phelps, NASCAR president, announced the decision on Nov. 5, saying that the motorsports series does not want to be affiliated with "the left or the right." He also announced that NASCAR will pursue legal action against those who use their trademarks on merchandise including the slogan.

"We will pursue whoever (is using logos) and get that stuff," said Phelps. "That's not OK. It's not OK that you're using our trademarks illegally, regardless of whether we agree with what the position is."

The phrase originated at the NASCAR Xfinity Series Kansas Lottery 300 race in October, where driver Brandon Brown had won his first NASCAR race. The crowd at the event began to chant "F*** Joe Biden" as Brown was being interviewed by NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast. She then told the racer during the interview that they were chanting "Let's Go Brandon," cheering for his win. Stavast was wearing a headset and it is unknown if she was able to hear the actual chant.

"It's an unfortunate situation and I feel for Brandon, I feel for Kelli. I think unfortunately it speaks to the state of where we are as a country," said Phelps.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

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NASCAR President Steve Phelps denounces the "Let's Go Brandon" slogan, saying the motorsports series does not want to be affiliated with "the left or the right." Above, driver Brandon Brown motors at the NASCAR Xfinity Series Kansas Lottery 300. Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Retired baseball star Lenny Dykstra posted a photo on Twitter this week of a man eating breakfast at a New Jersey hotel wearing a black "Let's go, Brandon" shirt alongside NASCAR's trademarked color bars.

That's a reversal on NASCAR's long history of allowing political candidates to use its races as campaign stops. President Donald Trump was the honorary starter at the Daytona 500 in 2020 and the sold-out February crowd made NASCAR's Super Bowl feel like a campaign rally until his plane flew over the Florida speedway after his command to start the engines.

Drivers and their families posed for selfies with Trump ahead of the race, and in early 2016, reigning Cup champion Chase Elliott was among a handful of drivers who attended a Georgia rally with then-NASCAR chairman Brian France in support of Trump. Several in the group, including NASCAR's most popular driver, spoke on stage.

NASCAR also took aggressive positions on social justice issues in 2020 during a nationwide racial reckoning following the death of George Floyd. NASCAR banned the display of the Confederate flag at its events at the request of Bubba Wallace, its only Black full-time driver. Wallace wore an "I Can't Breathe" shirt on pit road and ran with a Black Lives Matter paint scheme in one race.

Phelps said NASCAR respects the presidential office.

"Do we like the fact that it kind of started with NASCAR and then is gaining ground out elsewhere? No, we're not happy about that," Phelps said.

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NASCAR is distancing itself from the controversial "Let's Go Brandon" slogan that has been used to criticize President Joe Biden. Above, the controversial sign is displayed at a college football game in Syracuse, N.Y. AP Photo/Joshua Bessex