“What do they know about NASCAR that we don’t?” said Dr. David Weber, a professor of medicine and public health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Weber said everyone should be up to date on standard vaccinations, but he saw no need for special vaccinations to visit a health-care facility or a NASCAR event. Debbie Crane, a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said such shots are recommended for “general health” for all adults – but not for any specific circumstance. “The very idea of immunization is laughable,” said Lowe’s Motor Speedway President Humpy Wheeler. “It’s like taping your ankles to go to the mailbox.” He noted that no NASCAR event has ever sparked an outbreak – “other than a few headaches because somebody’s favorite driver ran out of gas, or maybe a morning hangover.” There are lots of voters at the track, and that makes politicians of both parties regulars at NASCAR. There’s no doubt the crowds trend Republican, but that hasn’t stopped Democrats from seeking support at the races. In the days leading up to the Bank of America 500, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue held a political reception near the track’s Turn 4. Among those hosting the Democratic gubernatorial candidate were Wheeler, NASCAR president Mike Helton, and team owners Rick Hendrick and Felix Sabates – both registered Republicans. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! By Mike Baker THE ASSOCIATED PRESS RALEIGH, N.C. – It got the GOP’s engines revving – a Democratic official suggesting staffers get immunized for several diseases before heading south from Washington and into the Red State wilds of NASCAR country to conduct research at a pair of races. The reaction on both sides illustrates just how valuable candidates for elected office consider the votes of NASCAR fans who pack grandstands by the thousands every weekend and the donations of business leaders who spend millions to sponsor the sport. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.It started last month, when an official with the House Committee on Homeland Security suggested that staff aides get immunizations before visiting health facilities at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway and North Carolina’s Lowe’s Motor Speedway, where the Bank of America 500 was run Saturday. In an e-mail, a staffer who works for committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., noted an “unusual need for whomever attending to be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B,” as well as “the more normal things – tetanus, diphtheria, and of course, seasonal influenza.” The note didn’t explain why the committee saw such concern. It didn’t mention NASCAR or the races at the tracks at all. But the implication was enough to draw a snarky complaint from Republican Rep. Robin Hayes, whose district includes Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “I have never heard of immunizations for domestic travel, and … I feel compelled to ask why the heck the committee feels that immunizations are needed to travel to my hometown,” wrote Hayes. Thompson responded to Hayes that such immunizations “are recommended for public safety professionals working in areas such as hospitals, holding areas and similar locations.” But the staffers were only scheduled to visit a few health-care facilities – not work at them.