rtx8sbh.jpgWith polls showing that Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has a shot at winning North Carolina, Republican rival John McCain is sending his wife Cindy to the state on Saturday to shore up what has traditionally been a stronghold for conservatives.

Obama has made inroads in North Carolina and made the city of Asheville his spot for preparing for the debate held this week. Plus, two out of three polls released this week have shown the Democrat ahead by as many as five points while the third poll showed McCain ahead by 3 points.

Cindy McCain, who has been taking a more prominent role in the campaign in recent days, will serve as the Grand Marshal at the NASCAR Bank of America 500 race on Saturday in Concord, North Carolina, the Republican’s campaign said. 

In addition to seeking those NASCAR voters, McCain’s vice presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, will be wooing the hockey contingent when she drops the ceremonial first puck in another battleground state, Pennsylvania, as the Philadelphia Flyers face off against the New York Rangers on Saturday.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

- Photo credit: Reuters/Robert LeSieur (NASCAR Sprint Cup last month in Delaware.)