Pastor, Trump ally Robert Jeffress to give Talladega prayer

October 12, 2019

TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, who has warned of a "civil war-like fracture" if President Donald Trump is impeached, was selected by Talladega Superspeedway to give Sunday's pre-race invocation and wave the green flag.

Trump last month tweeted a comment Jeffress made on "Fox & Friends Weekend" in which the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas warned, "If the Democrats are successful in removing the president from office, it will cause a civil war-like fracture in this nation from which our country will never heal."

NASCAR has a tricky relationship with Trump after former chairman Brian France recruited several drivers to attend a 2016 rally, where France endorsed Trump's candidacy. Trump seized it as an endorsement from the entire NASCAR entity. France later tried to stress it was strictly his opinion and he was not speaking for the entire sport.

Two months later at a race at Texas Motor Speedway, Phil Robertson, founder of the Duck Commander company, prayed in his invocation that "we put a Jesus man in the White House," and added "all right Texas, we got here via Bibles and guns."

Talladega on Saturday also named Edward Graham, who works in a Christian missionary aid organization and is the youngest son of evangelist Franklin Graham, to give the command to start the engines.

The invocation is a staple before every NASCAR national series event, although some do avoid overt religion and politics.

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