Giuliani attends Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway

Associated Press
Published November 19, 2007

HOMESTEAD - As pit crews made last-minute inspections to their cars Sunday at NASCAR's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani stressed the need for America to break its dependence on foreign oil.

Giuliani likened the pursuit of energy independence and the development of alternative energy sources to the race to put a man on the moon.

"Now it's a matter truly of national security," Giuliani said. "We have to pursue all of those alternatives that exist."

In the meantime, Giuliani said, the United States needs to focus on domestic sources of oil, as well as oil from friendly countries like Mexico and Canada. He said conservation also will have to play a role.

Giuliani and his wife, Judith, attended the season-ending race that would decide the winner of this year's Nextel Cup.

"This is our third one this year, so now I feel like I really am a fan," Giuliani said to a tent full of drivers and their crews.

"It really represents the very best of America."

After speaking to racers and fans, Giuliani also said that a presidential candidate's religious beliefs should not be a campaign issue.

"There is no religious test for office in this country," Giuliani said. "To raise anyone's religion is wrong. It's un-American. It's not the right thing to do."

Before the race, Giuliani joined other public officials on stage to welcome fans and to wish the drivers good luck. Gov. Charlie Crist, CIA director Gen. Michael V. Hayden, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek and Homestead Mayor Lynda Bell were on hand.

Just before the race started, Giuliani and his wife took a lap around the track in the official pace truck.

When asked who he was going to cheer for in the race, Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson, Giuliani said he liked both drivers.

"I'm going to pull for both of them," Giuliani said. "They're both good guys. May the better man win."