Congresswoman wants to end military's NASCAR sponsorships
The National Guard logo is displayed all over popular NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s car, cap and fire suit.
February 16th, 2011
08:24 AM ET

Congresswoman wants to end military's NASCAR sponsorships

A member of Congress wants to end the military's sponsorship of NASCAR race teams, saying it's a waste of taxpayers' money.

Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minnesota, is offering an amendment to the 2011 House budget bill to ban the sponsorships, which her office said has cost the military $100 million over the past 10 years, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The National Guard sponsors Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s team, the Army sponsors Ryan Newman, and the Air Force sponsors AJ Allmendinger, according to HamptonRoads.com.

"I would challenge the Pentagon to give me one example of someone today in Iraq or Afghanistan who saw the Go Army car going around the racetrack and that's why they joined the Army," Bill Harper, McCollum's chief of staff, told HamptonRoads.com. "It may be the reason why they go to Home Depot but not necessarily Afghanistan."

McCollum is in her sixth term and serves on the House Appropriations and Budget committees.

"NASCAR fans are the kind of people who fight America's wars, which would put into question the wisdom of banning the military's ability to reach out to them," NASCAR spokesman Randy Poston said in the HamptonRoads report.

More than 400 amendments to the budget bill have been offered. To become part of the law, they must survive subcommittee and committee votes as well as passage by the full House and Senate, followed by the president's signature.

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Filed under: Auto racing • Politics • Sports
soundoff (703 Responses)
  1. citizen

    Do people join the military because jets fly over sporting events?
    Spend the money already. It is our patriotic duty to support NASCAR.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Haha

      Patriotic duty to support Nascar? Doesnt even make sense...

      February 16, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I was against the sponsorship until you pointed this out. Excellent point. NASCAR fans are exactly the material (educational levels etc.) needed for the foot soldiers in our armies. This is in effect simply a recruiting drive and therefor not a waste of tax payer's money at all.

      February 16, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • junior

      Hey Congress, STOP SUPPORTING ILLEGALS, then let's talk about not supporting NASCAR

      February 16, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      Wow Mike and da man! Thanks for pointing out to everyone how those "kind" of people are. Now, go back to your latte'. Meanwhile, those "kind" of people will continue to give their lives for the United States so that you can be free to insult them. Way to go boys!

      February 16, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Army NASCAR FAN

      Mike and da man. You can take your insults toward my fellow military members and shove them up your.........You losers have NO RIGHT to toss insults at us. I have a suggestion. Why don't you two mindless twits grow a pair and join up. Then we'll see what kind of insults you can toss about.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • the biggest nascar fan!!

      hey da man (woman) i am a 40 yrs old woman, manager of a hotel that lives in a $30,000 home with 4 children, accoding to you i should beat my wife (i don't have) and drink till i pass out... really? you need to get a life and stop trying to make yourself "look good and funny" in your 30 sec. of fame... you make no sence steriotyping anyone. what kind of life style do you live?
      go away government officials, we deserve to honor the military how ever we see fit. not because you think it don't make a difference to most in Minisota where racing don't matter to you. too my son though yes he did decide to join the national gaurd because of being a Dale Jr. fan along with my daughter. so there is your answer. you can't rely on caboys that run the herd accross the state to join the race crew!!!

      February 16, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • da man

      Brad and Army NASCAR Fan.... I served my my time in the military thanks for inquiring.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Casual Observer

      just what country are you a citizen of? I think that the US Postal System should stop all it's sponsorships too
      the taxpayers need a break from waste
      as a result of the Great Recession all of America needs to reaccess their financial priorities
      a casual review of NASCAR revenues will show a drop
      waiting for the PC'ers to go after NASCAR for their toxic emissions – both from the cars and the fans

      February 16, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Why not spend on the troops more armor wait to hard to figure out

      February 16, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • unknown11

      Interresting. I generally think that all public money spent to support PROFESSIONAL sports is a waste and should be made illegal. Football is a money maker. Let them pay for their own stadiums. My tax money has no business supporting one team over another, or any team for that matter.
      However, the military has an advertising budget. If it can be proven that this is the most effective use of their advertising money then I guess it is the best use of that money...

      February 16, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • palintwit

      Only teabaggers think that nascar is a real sport.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • 101st Ground Pounder

      Mike, you sure know what you are talking about. The education level to be an Infantry Soldier does not need to be high, but the intelligence does, which it seems you lack in great amounts. The equipment and technology our ground troops have requires about the same tech level as flight crew. Now go crawl back under your rock and shut it.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • citizen of the world

      Your prioraties have been reassessed for you. It is to late to hoard food. The price is to high.
      Hoard duck tape and water.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Texan

      I'm not a NASCAR fan, but don't object to those that are. I am, however, concerned with my tax dollars going to NASCAR. One or two cars driving in circles at high speed is not going to get new recruits into the military. However, if it is highly effective, then the race teams or NASCAR should foot the bill and be proud to support the troops.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      NASCAR sucks.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • wall street algorithm

      Depression, resession, flash crash confession. Big banks, fat cats, money talks, no possessions.
      Counterfeit, sucker fool, chickenhead, gold is cool.
      Rich ba st ar ds, Hollywood, rock stars, stolen goods.

      February 16, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • hmartin

      When I was a recruiter we were allocated so much money for advertisements, when it was spent, that was it for that fiscal year. How that money was spent was up to the individual service. I see both sides to this issue, fans will say yes. non-fans will say no. What I would like to see is the individual states allocating how much money a congressman/woman will make representing them. How many times do they attend sessions and most importantly do they vote the way the people they represent really feel. Why do we give so many benefits to people who are not citizens? Times are tough for everyone, politicians need to get to the real issues – mainly there own reckless spending. If the healthcare package is so good for example – they should be made to use the same. Require them to do serve X amount of years to draw retirement, etc. I don't know if this issue is right/wrong, I just feel another diversion to avoid real issues that they seem to have no answer for!

      February 16, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Phil

      "Patriotic duty" to support NASCAR...Don't think so, Skippy !!

      February 16, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Tcat

      the difference between fly-overs and sponsorships is pretty big: those training flight hours are hours that will happen whether they are over a sporting event or not. it costs taxpayers no extra money to schedule the training flights to occur at the beginning of a game/other event.

      February 16, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  2. Anthony in OKC

    If the Armed Services don't spend that a money on NASCAR sponsorships, they'll spend it on something else. It's already been appropriated for. It's a sunk cost.

    Congresspeople are idiots. Their paychecks are the real waste of taxpayer dollars.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Keeeshawrn

      this is true

      February 16, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • theart

      Do you mean other things like body armor?

      February 16, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Rachel M

      Well said. Advertising for new recruits has always been a fixed cost for the military forces. If the military finds that advertising with NASCAR is more effective than say, stand alone TV ads, why try to force them to stop?

      February 16, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • JustMe

      Let's see, that's 100 million over 10 years? That would be 10 million per year! Oh, and by the way our president wants to pass a 3.7 TRILLION budget for this year????? A 10 million dollar budget for advertising for our military is a drop in the bucket compared to some of the bullshi@ pet pork projects in the stimulus bill that was passed last year. Hell, why don't congress just let unemployment checks be indefinite???

      February 16, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. Are You Kidding?

    Seriously our tax dollars are supporting a sport? There is more then enough fools out there paying outragous amounts of money to athletes. The government should not be one of them. How about putting that money toward the people who are about to lose their heat in their homes because Obama wants to cut those funds. Wake the hell up people our government is.corrupted by greed

    February 16, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Haha

      When / where did Obama say he wanted to cut funds that heat people's homes... also doesnt make sense

      February 16, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • CrazyMedic

      (Are you kidding) Do you actually live under a rock????? You must not watch TV at all or are one of the welfare recipients that lay around and suck government money too. All the the Dale Earnhardt JR's, Jeff Gordon's commercials that show National Guard on fire suits / cars with it printed all over them. If they don't spend it on NASCAR they will just fund more illegal immigrants or welfare losers. OPEN YOUR EYES!!!!!!!

      February 16, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • John in NY

      This is very simple, the military sponsors NASCAR as a recruiting tool, their name on the side of the car is no different then a "Go Army" commercial on TV or a print add for recruitment, although truthfully the sponsorship is probably a much better investment since it gets their "ad" seen far more.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • ItsMe

      Oh yes – we the taxpayers even pay for new football & baseball stadiums. Did you know that? The ONLY sport that builds it's own facilities is NASCAR. All other stadiums are built using taxpayers money.
      So, while it is costly to go to a NASCAR race, I can understand it being so costly, because the track owners need to recoup the money they spend building and maintaining the track.
      We the taxpayers, since we helped build these other sports arena's, should be subsidized to attend the games. After all, it's OUR venue, is it not?

      February 16, 2011 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  4. guardwife

    What Congresswoman McCollum is failing to realize is the military sponsored cars provide a great morale boost to those soldiers serving abroad. In addition, those military sponsored cars are a valueable recruiting tool for the replentishment of the ranks. Those cars envoke a sense of pride, it's more than just a reason "to go to Home Depot". As a spouse of a National Guard solider and an avid NASCAR fan, I love the fact that I can show support for my husbands servce as well as a sport that I enjoy.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • GrogInOhio

      I was supporting the congresswoman's thoughts until I read your note. I'm kind of ashamed of myself now. Thanks for making a valid point!

      February 16, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • a little sad

      The seven people in my family currently on active duty never went to a NASCAR race, not once. Of my seven nieces and nephews, one's only 8, the rest are all 4th generation military, so I would say NASCAR wasn't a big factor when my family started to join up during WWI, as new immigrants..

      I understand that it can give a little morale boost to see a car run around a race track – Mario Andretti was my hero as a kid. (I was probably the only 5th grade girl who wrote a book report on "They call me Mr 500.)

      However, as Boehner said yesterday, we're broke. We don't need to spend $100 million for racecars, we have more pressing needs. It's not as if NASCAR would go away without taxpayer support.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • John in NY

      Excellent post, you hit the nail on the head.

      Also as advertising goes, dollar for dollar, their NASCAR sponsorship probably gets their "ad" seen far more then any other print or broadcast ad would

      February 16, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Having a military sponsored car drive around in a circle for a few hours does not evoke any sense of pride. It's just one of the many things the military spends an enormous amount of money on that's completely useless.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • FellowGuardWife

      Thank you for posting this. These sponsorships allow for those in the service to attend the races, as to sponsorships with other sports, which is a huge moral boost!

      February 16, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • SparksOfBlue

      Guardwife – thank you for your post, and please thank your spouse for serving for me. Matt – Have you ever even been to a NASCAR event? It seems to me there are a lot of nay-sayers on this issue who don't have a clue what they are talking about. Yes, finances are critical. Yes, money is being spent on sponsorship. But it would be spent regardless, so why not support one of THE most patriotic sports left in this country?! And yes, the sponsorship DOES invoke pride. It's not a one-way street. The guys who drive these military-sponsored cars believe in what the men and women serving this country are doing!! NASCAR is one sport that CONSISTENTLY includes our military servicemen and servicewomen in pre-race prayers, honors Veterans, tributes 9/11, etc. If you've ever actually been to a race, you'll know that these branches of military have haulers that they bring out for recruiting...but also just to connect with the people and share their experiences. The Congresswoman is wrong.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      I've never been to a race. Recruiting at the race makes sense, spening millions of dollars to sponsor a car does not. With the way the economy is, the military doesn't need to try so hard to recruit anymore.

      February 16, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gayna Uransky

    WHY would we be supporting Nascar with funds from our Armed forces? Couldn't we better use these funds to provide better FOOD for our troops? Finally someone has actually seen fit to suggest a better level of food in the mess halls: Michelle Obama. She has even provided suggestions on nutrition to go along with the better level of food. And with this added information, our armed forces seem to be making a few better choices, resulting in better health. But we are still a very long way away from actually providing even adequate nutritional meals for our troops. A few more dollars spent could help this issue. Certainly better than giving the funds to Nascar!

    February 16, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Nic

      Shutup, you have no idea what your talking about. When i was deployed to iraq in 2005 and 2008, I ate like a king, steaks, lobster, crab, shrimp....everything, so shutup. I hate congressmen and women, they grobble over stupid crap, while my friends die. They care nothing about what my best friend
      died for, they want to fund stupid commissions or raise their own salaries. FUND the sponsorships, ir doesnt hurt a thing, they are idiots.....democrat and republican

      February 16, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Rachel M

      The armed forces have always budgeted for advertising for new recruits. Have you not watched television during the past 30 years? I can't believe you haven't seen one of their recruiting ads.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • OooRah

      @Nic: Absolutely right. But not to worry; having 400 pork-barrel amendments this bill stands no chance of passing whatsoever. It won't even get out of committee.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Alcharlie

      Ya lets spend it on a few more corrupt contractors. As a former recruiter I can tell you it works. So you are saying stop advertising? We have had advertising for recruits for as long as there has been a military.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • TexanPatriot

      Go back and chew on your arugula.

      February 17, 2011 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. Erik Sanchez

    Why is NASCAR any different than the NHRA? Has she never seen the Army dragster? I'm a veteran and an automotive enthusiast and it makes me proud to see my "team" at the track.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Rachel M

      The Army advertises on a dragster?! Ohhh...

      February 16, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Get BackTo TheKitchen

      @Rachel M: Yes they do sponsor a dragster... they've sponsored several. Would you be happier if you saw Oprah behind the wheel? Probably... now pipe down and get me a beer.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. jay

    I am a former recruiter and this is definately not a waste of money. What is a waste is all the money we pay these congressmen/women. They spend more time bickering and on recess. maybe they should on get paid bases on what they accomplish!!! Just released the FY12 budget but haven't even passed the FY11 budget yet. Sire give yourself an automatic $5400 a year pay raise but give me, a Soldier, a $300 a year pay raise. You have to serve one term and get a pension and healthcare for life. I have to serve 20 years, put my life on the line and then I only get 50% and healthcare that I still have to pay for.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      $100,000,000.00 would go a long way to giving soldiers raises. Maybe we should use the money to pay our soldiers better, as opposed to slapping a logo on one some beer swilling redneck chariot.

      February 16, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Sgt. Joe

      I agree w/Joe, give our military a pay raise instead!

      February 16, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      100,000,000.00 over 10 years is not a lot of money to go towards pay raises. Do the math, that's 10 million per year and there are over 600,000 people in the armed services.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • mj

      Amen and Go get 'em Jay...my husband is also retired and guess what...income tax on his retirement just doubled. Serve your country and get screwed by the IRS....BTW Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Don't be so greedy Jay. A $300 a year pay raise is a lot more than our civilian counterparts are getting right now. As an E-5, the Navy gives me plenty of money to live comfortable.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • TexanPatriot

      The military has got pay raises the past 3 years. Inflation since mid-2008 has been ZERO. My congressman won't justify it. What good is a "cost of living raise" if greatly exceeds the cost of living increase? It's political! But let's screw the military retirees, with a ZERO COLA and slapping up to a 6-fold increase in TRICARE premiums. Private industry is not giving raises either. But Civil Servants also got fat increases.

      February 17, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  8. Conan

    As an active Marine and a former recruiter, i agree. Recruiting isnt facing the challenges today as it was when the services started this. Cutting this would be a great idea. Making a law forbidding an advertisement for recruiting is a bad idea. You never know what the future will hold.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  9. Bill

    Its a waste of tax payers money.
    And the money could go to help people ThAt needs it, the us is the most waste full country in the world. ThAt is some of reason we are in debt for 14 trillion .
    Bill

    February 16, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • TexanPatriot

      Bill, you mean like From each according to his ability, to each according to his need - right?

      February 17, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. johnny

    All such spending should stop. Beans, bread, rice should be priority, and with 14 TRILLION in debt... think first.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. Marine Sgt

    I agree 100%. Our militay should be getting paid
    more, and having better equipment to do our jobs
    is and shold be Top priority. I'm just wondering
    Why there isn't a Marine corps Nascar team,
    or college football team? Congress needs to quit
    Complaining and just do there jobs, or we should
    Get them out of office. There the waste of money.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Haha

      To answer your questions, the Marine Corps decided not to use their appropriated advertising funds to sponsor a Nascar team and well if you don't know why the Marine Corps doesn't have a college football team... i cant do anything for you.

      February 16, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Actually, since marine officers go through the naval academy, the navy college football team comprise of navy and marine personnel. And part of Obama's budget cuts include subsides to heating n cooling of low income families. Guess maybe Obama and the Dems shudnt have been spending like we have zero debt. Also, congress is a huge waste of funds. When the dems took control 4 yrs ago the actually increased their budget by almost 2x

      February 16, 2011 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      The Marines use their money so their recruiters can drive around in Hummers.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Rachel M

      As Jason has already stated, the Marine Corps does have a college football team (Navy).

      February 16, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • DidYou KnowThat

      @Jason: Actually all of the service academys are represented. Upon graduation, newly commissioned officers may choose to enter any branch of service no matter what academy they attended.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. MarkyMarx

    Well said Jay. If the people of this country ever decide to revolt it would be great to have the military's support. There was a time when congressmen/women actually had private sector jobs. This country is becoming a joke pretty fast.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • TexanPatriot

      If we revolt, the military will have orders to KILL US ALL. Don't think Obama won't put down a rebellion for one instant.

      February 17, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. Rhonda Lee

    The congresswoman is 100% correct. It is a complete waste of money. Nobody goes to the recruitment office because they saw Dale Jr. win (Ha! I can't believe I actually wrote a sentence with "Dale Jr." and "win"). Spend that $10 million per year on shoring up Social Security.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. kennykodak

    cancel some of Michelle's 5 star vacations instead.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Alcharlie

      Amen to that!! Oh but cut her some slack. Her job is so much more stressful than a deployed soldiers job.

      February 16, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  15. Veritas

    Yea lets take away low income home heating benefits and Pell grants to help our kids get educated but put the money into support of nascar! Entirely ludicris. all you left turn lovers of a sport that wastes fuel and apparently sucks up taxpayers money can send your personal donations but i want my taxes to go for something important. If the troops want to support nascar let those who care about nascar donate from theyre pay but dont rob needy people to support sports figures! How rediculous if the sport/team cant cant find rich sponsers tfb! that much less crap in the ozone.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • YOU KNOW

      THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT BE SUPPORTING ANYONE,REGARDLESS.GROW UP AMERICA AND TAKE CARE OF YOUR SELF.THAT IS THE AMERICAN WAY.NOT GETTING A CHECK FROM THE GOVERNMENT BECAUSE YOU CANT SUPPORT YOURSELF.

      February 16, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
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