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. julnor

    The question comes down to "should the US military advertise"? If the answer is no, then a lot of money can be saved on commercials and billboards and magazines, etc. If advertising is a good idea to spur recruitment, then it would make sense to advertise via NASCAR since its fan base is generally more likely to join the military than other demographics. One has to figure that the military has hired some firm to help direct their advertising. It would be interesting to know how much the military spends on all adverstising. I'd guess that NASCAR sponsorships are a small fraction of that.

    February 16, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. needNewGov

    This is advertising money that the Pentagon is spending and let's face it Nascar is the demographic they are trying to reach. I'd rather them spend their money on reaching their target than wasting it on network television.

    February 16, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. needNewGov

    Let's face it, Nascar fans are probably one of the biggest demographics for military service.

    February 16, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • A. Goodwin

      That demographic will certainly change as more gay soldiers enlist (which I absolutely applaud).

      February 16, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. luke

    Stop paying these clowns in congress to tell us how to spend our money. Take away the golden parachute, no more pay till you do your job and straightened this mess out. Never have so many been governed by so few. Long live Nascar (Non Atheletic Sport Centered Around Rednecks ).

    February 16, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joe Blow

    This money comes out of the advertising budget for the military. So what she is saying is she wants to have more control of how the military spends their money. Maybe if she gets her way they will be carrying pink guns and wearing tootoo's also. This is ridiculous, just seeing the car with the army slogan on it didn't make me go to iraq or afghanistan, but it helped get me through the door to enlist. Its good marketing, you put your name out there on many different markets your going to get results.

    February 16, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • A. Goodwin

      If you enlisted in the service because you saw some military logo on a car, then you are pretty ignorant. Most people want to serve their country...some want an education...some want the military benefits, some want to travel. Want to get more people to recruit? Reduce spending on NASCAR and reach out to the gay community.

      February 16, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dave

    I think yoyo needs to repeat the second grade up more money for education please

    February 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cary

    The military shouldn't be paying for ANY sponsorships, whether it's NASCAR or the Winter X Games! We're cutting back on the budget, forcing people out of the military before they choose to leave, because there's NO MONEY, and yet we have money for this crap! Talk about a waste of tax dollars! Who's stupid idea was this, anyway?!

    February 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. conradshull

    The lady does not understand marketing. And, I'd wager she secretly loathes the military.

    February 16, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • A. Goodwin

      Actually, conrad, she was a sales manager prior to getting into politics. So yes, she know's a little something about marketing.

      February 16, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bart in Omaha

    Watch, the Republicans will come to the defense of NASCAR here, but they want to kill NPR. I'll give you one guess why that it.

    February 16, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Retired Soldier

    Fact: all the services have an advertising budget. There are significant rules and controls on how those funds are spent far more than any restrictions in the private sector. Yes, they spend some on racing: IRL, NASCAR, NHRA, etc. What do they get for it? First this keeps the services in the public awareness. These organizations and teams make numerous visits with our troops that you never see. Do you have any idea how many of our young soldiers/airmen/sailors (of all ethnicities and backgrounds) flock around these people show up at a base? You don’t hear the chatter of the soldiers, guardsmen, airmen: “Jr.-the Guard car, is on the pole for the 500!” Would you rather the services each bought an NBA team or pay for advertisement videos and radio commercials that only run after midnight on TV and radio?

    February 16, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Grace and Dignity

    I find it missive that we have so many people arguing that this is needed for recruitment, the fact of the matter is our armed services are currently over staffed. Over the last year the Army alone has been cutting thousands of Jobs. My husband is serving and has had several comrades released early from contracts because they no longer have a job. So I don't think that's a valid argument.

    I'm not a fan of NASCAR to begin with but, 100 million a year could be re-appropriated to our struggling school systems. If everyone's crying about the budget, this seems like a perfectly sound cut. If you're struggling to make ends meet you cut what you don't need and take care of the basic elements of living, NASCAR is (in my opinion) by no means a vital expense.

    February 16, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • amazed @ the duplicitousness

      "if you're struggling to make ends meet, you cut what you don't need and take care of the basic elements of living, NASCAR is (in my opinion) by no means a vital expense"

      With this logic, you might have a valid point....

      but then again educating and paying for the healthcare of illegal aliens, kickbacks for my banker and union buddies and goverment susidies for abortions are NOT a "vital expense" either.

      February 16, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Rep. McCollum will never get this past the southern state republicans in congress. I live in one of these states and can testify that the current day redneck coalition in congress would cut their own mother's social security, before they would touch Nascar.

    February 16, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      How would they effect NASCAR? NASCAR just worries about having 43 cars on the track. They could less about race team sponsors.

      February 16, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick F

      Let's eliminate ALL professional sports. It's all a waste of money. Then American families will be able to buy real food with the money they save by not buying sports memorabilia, beer, chips, and overtipping sports bar waitresses. Tensions will be reduced because no one will argue the pros and cons of Auburn vs Alabama, or Michigan vs Ohio State, or whatever other rivalry they used to follow.

      TV can fill up the airtime with more episodes of Animal Planet or create new Lifetime episodes of some guy doing something heinous to his wife / girlfriend / neighbor / secretary / kids. Then there's always more episodes of Jersey Shore and the whacky antics of Shnooki and her pals.

      February 16, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. pauletteb

    How does watching fast cars go round and round in circles and hoping for a crash (and don't even TRY to tell me you don't!) deserve military sponsorship? Those dollars could be better used on body armor and other items that actually do our men and women in uniform some good. Does Randy Poston reallly believe that only NASCAR fans, an ever-smaller sector of the U.S. population, are the only ones who serve?

    February 16, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dee

    I think endilng those sponorships is a bad idea. NASCAR is absolutley right the fans are also the ones fighting, by keeping the military sponsors it tells the one on the front lines we care about you and want to keep America American.

    February 16, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jay

    "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,”

    BS! I am a United States Sailor, and have never watched a NASCAR race. "the kind if people who fight American wars," please! I'm from Philly, one of the toughest places to grow up, period, and I still have enough pride and patriotism to serve my country. We don't see advertisements or recruiters walking through the hood, but I'm still here. I hope they do ban the sponsorship, that 100 million could have been put to better use.

    February 16, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • amazed @ the duplicitousness

      Jay,

      Do you feel ALL recruitment advertising by the military should be banned? Perhaps you have a point...

      However, if you ONLY want to target the Nascar advertising... then your point is worthless.

      February 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
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