Brown just wants to race. Instead, the kind of spotlight he wished would have burned out by now continues to beam right on him.
Like it or not.
“There’s a lot of things that make me look like the enemy,” he told The Associated Press before his season opened Saturday with NASCAR’s second-tier Xfinity Series race at Daytona.
The 28-year-old Brown unwittingly became entangled in this debacle when he won his first career NASCAR race in October in Alabama, and the Talladega Superspeedway crowd chanted “F— Joe Biden” during Brown’s interview.
It was not clear if NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast, who was wearing a headset, could hear what the crowd was saying during the interview, and she incorrectly told Brown the fans were cheering “Let’s go, Brandon.”
What should have been laughed off as a blown-over blooper somehow escalated into the fast-evolving pop-culture lexicon. Politicians shouted the phrase from the House floor and repeated the soundbite in campaign ads. Trump’s website offers ornaments, buttons and pint glasses — $29.95 for a set of two — with “Let’s go Brandon” stamped on each piece of kitschy merchandise. The souvenir shops that line Daytona’s streets sell Brandon-inspired T-shirts — none of them, of course, approved by NASCAR.
“But at the same time, my name’s out there. People know who I am now,” Brown said. “There’s some reputability to that.”