I hate to break it to you, but up north people who are NASCAR fans are generally derided, especially the local ones - I liked cars a lot growing up in New England but had no doubt, for whatever ingrained reason, that NASCAR was professional wrestling with wheels. I can totally understand a business reporter not knowing anything about the sport end of the business.
I hate to break it to you but NASCAR fans and, well, most of us from the region it was founded from are well aware of what those in the more traditional blue states think of us on a broad range of issues. I've been to the NE and Calf. several times and have received my share of sly comments about my accent and if I acutally shop at a Piggly Wiggly. The one time I brought up my love of NASCAR at a large 4th of July party in Maine brought out more snickers and smart ass comments than Rupaul at a southern Baptist convention.
In the end we complain somewhat but don't really care. Now that the election excitement is over and the harsh economic reality has set in for most of us not only here but the world in general, I think you will continue to see a more "back to basics" attitude settle in over the next year or two. More people getting back to their roots like family, church and prayer. Ideals that are easily present in all 50 states but seem to always resonate the strongest down in this area of the country. It is what drew us to the racing sport in the first place.