Junior luncheon part of convention

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity is doing its best to win friends and influence people.

With NASCAR fans, there’s no better face to put forward than Dale Earnhardt Jr. But how will that work with the Democratic fans? We’ll find out next week in Charlotte, NC, when the Democratic National Convention comes to town.

On Tuesday, delegates are invited by the coalition to the ultimate NASCAR outing at Charlotte Motor Speedway, starting with Richard Petty Driving Experience ride-alongs in the morning; a lunch with Earnhard Jr., stock car racing’s most popular driver; and an open bar in the Speedway Club until 3 p.m. Transportation will be provided from the delegates’ hotels.

Earnhardt has not expressed his political leanings publicly, but Petty, a die-hard Republican, ran for secretary of state in North Carolina in 1996. He was defeated by Democrat Elaine Marshall. However, NASCAR has never hidden its political leanings. Two weeks ago, NASCAR chairman Brian France held a fundraiser for presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity is a sponsor of Earnhardt’s JR Motorsports operation. He, in turn, has appeared in ads for the coalition’s cause.