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Waltrip aids Barbour in race

By By Will Bardwell / staff writer
Oct. 31, 2003
Five days before Election Day, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Haley Barbour brought in a friend who knows something about winning races NASCAR Winston Cup icon Darrell Waltrip.
Barbour and Waltrip were greeted by over 100 supporters and fans on Wednesday at Chunky River Harley-Davidson in Meridian. The Republican nominee said he and Waltrip made the visit to energize his support base.
Waltrip, a resident of Tennessee and a native of Kentucky, said he met Barbour nearly a decade ago during a lobbying effort. According to Waltrip, the Department of Labor attempted to enact a regulation that would keep religious views out of workplaces.
Since NASCAR competes on Sundays, Waltrip said the rule would have prevented racers from taking part in religious ceremonies at race tracks prior to races.
Waltrip admitted he knew little about political issues facing Mississippi, but said Barbour's personal qualities make him a worthy candidate.
Democratic incumbent Ronnie Musgrove, Barbour's opponent in Tuesday's election, said he was a NASCAR fan and questioned whether Barbour was truly a fan.
A three-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion and the NASCAR Driver of the Decade for the 1980s, Waltrip made it clear he has no political ambitions of his own.
Barbour said that while Waltrip's appearance may not change any votes, he hoped it would excite his supporters.