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

"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 "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. GF

    This will put 100 million dollars of the US budget into perspective. It really would make no difference to the overall spending.

    February 16, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. AmishAirline

    I love how this has brought the hypocrites out of the woodwork! All the same hayseeds, spouting the teabagger rhetoric. . .WE MUST CUT SPENDING. . .well. . .we meant spending on PBS, and all that commie liberal stuff to educate children, not good-ol' god-fearin' NASCAR! That ain't wasteful, son. . .that there is PATRIOTIC! If you were able to honestly assess what you write, you'd be laughing as hard as I am. Like the guy a few posts back who thinks that cutting the military's NASCAR budget will weaken the military's ability to defend our nation. CLASSIC, man.

    February 16, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Scott

    I grew up in the military and it's AWESOME to see the respect the military gets from NASCAR !!! With Rep. McCollum's way of thinking , then shouldn't we do away with the government? They cost taxpayers BILLIONS a year and I've NEVER met anyone who wanted to be Congressman or Senator based on who's in there..

    February 16, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. stickyd

    I can't think of any other sport where it makes more sense. NASCAR fans are some of the most patriotic fans in all sports. Plus, this congresswoman clearly doesn't know anything about marketing. Oh, and she does realize that the armed forces sponsor a ton of other events/sports other than just NASCAR!?! What an idiot!

    February 16, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. william

    Jesus invented Nascar, so it's only right that American taxpayers support it.

    February 16, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. real support

    How about a compromised? Stop spending the money on sports sponsorships as advertisement and "morale boosters", and use the money to fund the proposed cuts to the MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) programs that actually support the active duty military and family members?

    If NASCAR really wants to show their support of the military, they could hang up signs at their tracks for FREE instead of accepting sponsorship money from the government.

    February 16, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mann

    HOW STUPID to give tax payers dallars to nascar and here they want to cut SS and medicaid (Replubicans) money people worked all their lives for. yeah let'scut that and support nascar

    February 16, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dan

    We didn't have military advertising 30 years ago, how did we survive?

    February 16, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tacjam

      they had the Draft...that's how!

      February 16, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Steveo

    It's called advertising guys.

    February 16, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Brian

    In order to properly address this article, one must review the underlying assumptions. Personally, I am 100% for cutting back our military spending significantly. US armed forced are larger than the next 13 coutnries combined – and most of those are our allies. So I am all for cutting the car sponsorships, and all the TV commercials. However, if you are of the opinion that the US needs to have this presence, then it is imperative that the armed forces recruit attractive candidates. And to do so, they must position their branch in a positive light. If that means that you like the army because you like a NASCAR driver, so be it. Very few people like the armed forces solely because they can go overseas and be shot at by Muslim radicals. So if we are going to have a large army, we have to do something to attract candidates.

    February 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sheogre

      @Brian, exactly my thoughts! I just let my some of my "fury" from people saying NASCAR is not a sport, blind me from the right words to say! Thank you for making that point!

      February 16, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      Ho much did Betty spend on "her" campaign. Hypocrite!

      February 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • CSMinDC

      Brian, I don't know where you got your numbers, but China has over 150MM in their military and India is a close second. I believe some foreign bases needs closing, but we're not close to China and India in number of personnel.

      February 16, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • CSMinDC

      Sorry, I meant 15MM. I'm using Washington math.

      February 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • sunsudo

      yup get rid of the nascar, tv / radio adds/ billbords ect... secure the border, stop fighting everone elses wars and downgrade the military greatly works for me

      February 16, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amexsos

      Brian one point of contention. Our military is not larger than the next 13 countries combines, our military budget is larger than the next 13 combined. As a matter of conjecture, the reason why our armed forces are able to be a voluntary force and as small as it is, is because of technology. To keep this edge, we need to keep doing research and advancing technology. If not, an argument can be made that we will have to increase the number of soldiers in order to make up the difference in technology in order to keep the same level of defense.
      Where I think we can cut significant amount of dollars is not cutting research and development, but being frugile with the buying of new tech. Instead of 50 new bombers, buy 3 or 4 a year. What will cut dollars is closing all the bases we have overseas, especially in areas that are no longer considered hot spots like Europe.
      I do not like nascar, but I see the reasoning behind the advertising. For a senator to make the argument of "show me one soldier that joined because of nascar advertising in Iraq or Afganistan is pathetic. That is like saying show me a citizen that has actually benefitted from their elected officials. I can see an impressionable young man or woman that saw the design of the racecar and took a trip to see a recruiter, but the opposite can also be said that not one person that saw the car acted. Red herring argument meant to push buttons instead of logically thought out.

      February 16, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • frontgate

      what in the world does how much she spent on her campaign have to do with the military sponsoring a nascar driver.

      February 16, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • JackieInDallas

      The various military branches spend millions annually in various campaigns to attract volunteers. As a veteran myself, I can pretty well say that I doubt a single volunteer has volunteered because a car spinning around a track. On the other hand the "Be All that You Can Be" campaign has a proven track record, proven by metrics.

      Better yet, some of those Tea Party folks should encourage their followers to join...

      February 16, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heeeeeeeee-Hawwwwwwwwwww

      I would prefer that they fish in a more intelligent gene pool. Although they probably already know a lot about guns and drinking. ..........Just a pure waste of money........glad to see a GREAT Dem. idea.

      February 16, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Obama Bin Laden

      I think Earnhardt Jr is a great driver for the Army to sponsor since he never wins anything either these days.....

      February 16, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • UHhello

      It is true our military spending is higher than the next 13 combined and fact is they are mostly our allies, our Military Industrial Complex easily provides the world with over 40% of everything from Bullets to tanks. They make huge profits providing the tools for war. May be we should create limits for those companies and cut them back and consequentially our technology and the need to go to war might be reduced? I understand everyone from Israel, China and Russia will try to fill the gap to provide those kinds of materials to the countries and "terrorists/Rebels/freedom fighters/patriots/ fill in appropriate name here, but keeping our money in R & D would keep us superior and well stocked and may be we wouldn't need to advertise so much to send our kids off to kill to support Multinationals security needs?

      February 16, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      you are mistaken. I'm currently on my 24th year in the Navy. Your figures only apply to the worlds Navy.
      We get that speech from our department head every six months and the idea of a 600 ship navy to include our allies.

      February 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mac11

      Very well put and 100% right on the money.

      February 16, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • J. B.

      If you get rid of the advertisements, how do you promote the services to get the men adn women to step forward and serve? We would have to bring back the draft. That would not be good.

      February 16, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chief

      Ya all don't get it. If you want to sell your product you have to advertise. Look at NASCAR fans as compared to other large audiences, most are what you all call "red neck" good ole fashion guys and gals who believe in America and still have a sparkle of patriotism. You won't see the military advertising at McDonalds or Pizza Hut. NASCAR was chosen because every lap is the same as a target demographic driving by a billboard. The message can get across up to 250 times in a 4hr span. And at 10M a year, that is money well spent. (Just ask Bud, Lowes, Home Depot, Miller, Dupont and the rest) A target audience staring at your ad for hours...doesn't get any easier.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Raymond Purcell

      Our military is the only thing that guarantees you the freedom of speech to say stupid things like most of what I've read here without fear of being jailed or executed. For all of you who want to spout off about the military, make sure you are a veteran and understand the military. Do you really want to defend our own borders? Then I suggest you either join the military or SHUT THE HELL UP!! Our biggest problem with spending is politicians who have a $190k salary, wasteful programs like studying the mating habits of flies, and things like that.

      February 17, 2011 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
  11. Eric Nelson

    You can't cut NASCAR funding, what would Christians do on Sunday mornings???

    February 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      ahh, we go to church on Sunday mornings genius

      February 16, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • abnguy504

      The big race is Sunday afternoon after church service.

      February 16, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • el americano

      Perhaps you and Abdullah can enjoy a ham sandwich together?

      February 16, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • UHhello

      @Brian I believe Eric means the "Good Christians" that stay home on Sunday and may be send there wives and kids to church while they prepare to watch the race. Or possibly those good Christians that travel to the track stay over night party like an animal before and after the race and enjoy the debachery that follows. It is no different than a rock and roll concert in my opinion Racing is entertainment, Should the Army sponser rock bands NOPE but THEY do. I am all for cutting spending on anything Defense orientated. We spend way too much on this stuff. We all know the old saying, how can you have peace while planning for war?

      February 16, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. stickyd

    This is what's wrong with our government leaders. Instead of focusing on fixing problems/issues like the health care reform bill, uncontrolled spending by our leader, socialistic agendas and people running rampant in our branches, and making sure our country is safe, they are focused on a sport that is a drop in the bucket of spending. It's not as if the advertisements and sponsorships don't help recruitment! So should the military stop all forms of advertising and marketing? This is just idiot!

    February 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      So Our men and women should go without armer so we can advertise at NASCAR? Is the Military an ad agency? Remember We all have to tighten the belt right!

      February 16, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      no fan of Betty, but as a MN resident, I say she's correct on this one- cut everything possible including military spending- all the griping about the little cuts here and there confirm the obvious- we have to make big, bad sacrifices across the board to pay for all the spending we've done on wars (needed or not), social services and the freakin interest we pay on it all. I'm a hawkish pro-life Dem absolutely willing to do Ron Paul-esque cuts to the military, won't hurt us a bit / will help by greatly reducing the fact that we have to stop messing with everyone we think might be a threat- we can wait and bomb the crap out of them remotely if we end up needing to, we never have to invade another country, ever again. Thoughtful, nuanced foreign policy that slashes spending, say by 75% for a couple years, will get us out of the hole fast, will take us off the radar of lunatics / they won't be able to blame us for everything. NASCAR is totally lame anyway, waste of gas, not entertaining, duh.

      February 16, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • ScottV

      Hey you forgot your case of Natty Light in the shopping cart!

      February 16, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • AZguy

      This is the problem, Stickyd, people want services and all the wonderful things gov't does and buys, but they don't want to pay for it. You want poor people to go without health care, so the military can puts ads on NASCAR events and cars- why? Because that is entertaining to you and makes you feel manly. However, when you lose your employer provided health insurance you too will want more gov't funds to bail you out. This is the problem- it's you and me speaking out of both sides of our mouth.

      February 16, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      stickyd...I like how you wrote about uncontrolled spending by our leader, yet you are willing to spend unecessarily on NASCAR ads...regug hypocracy at its finest!!!!

      February 16, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • stickyd

      I never said I was a NASCAR fan. What' I'm saying is our Military operates on a budget just like everyone else. They are allocated a certain amount on marketing and advertising. How they choose to use those is up to them. To blindly call out NASCAR as a endless money hole that needs to be filled is foolish. At least the sponsorships are being put to good use and helping recruit servicemen/women.

      Am I for promoting our armed forces to help protect our country and freedoms, absolutely! Am I for providing health care for the entire United States, absolutely NOT! There should be specific programs designed to help those in need, but to say "Everyone gets health care" makes no sense. Some of the people on here bashing the military's marketing/advertisement decisions while choosing to ignore our very own President's multi-million dollar vacations is ironic. At least the NASCAR advertisements serve some good........I can't say that about B.O.'s trip to spain. Pick and choose your battles about what is right and what is wrong. We need to get our government in check and stop the reckless spending that is crippling our country.

      February 16, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • stickyd

      Bruce, you're an idiot. Where are your stats and facts that prove that advertising/recruiting in NASCAR is foolish and wreckless? Now B.O.'s lavish vacations are a direct example of foolish spending with no returns! Are you going to call for B.O.'s head and demand that he doesn't take any more multi-million dollar vacations on our dollar? Doubt it b/c you're an ignorant fool!

      February 16, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Poor and Stupid

      We dont need none of that Obama Socialist Communist healthcare. Take that waste of money and give it to the military. It is good 'ol Junior's God given right to keep turnin' left for the soliders. Git 'er done.

      February 16, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • AF Deployed

      Sure let's just get rid of the military all together. I love the fact that people who have the freedom of speech are the ones calling for less spending on our military. No military = No freedom of speech. Cut back spending and lets see what language we will be learning. Dumb......

      February 16, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      @AF Deployed The United States can and should cut way back on military spending and we wouls still be more than able to defend ourselves. As for you no military = no freedom speech – no one said they wanted no military, they said they wanted cuts in military spending. How about stopping unneccesary wars and intervntions? I for one get so sick of people still peddling the lie that those in Iraq are fighting for our "freedoms." Iraq was no threat to us or our freedoms. It was war based on a pack of lies and those sent there to fight were sent there on a fools errand.

      February 17, 2011 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
    • haremettle

      Those drops in the bucket add up to a full bucket. Betty McCollum sounds like someone I would probably disagree with on most issues. But she's right about this. Even if it's shown that it helps in recruitment, (even though I'd bet that its minimum if at all) it doesn't really matter. There are a lot of great programs that our government tries to provide. Problem is, we don't have the money anymore. My kids liked taking karate. It was a great idea. A great program. Couldn't afford it. They liked playing club soccer. Great teams and program. But unfortunately, we had to put them in recreational leagues, because the club teams were too expensive. Just because something is good, doesn't mean you can still afford them. We have to cut stuff. And this seems like a pretty reasonable thing to me to cut.

      February 17, 2011 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
    • not-a-yes-mon

      Your point is valid, nowever rather than using the word focus, this is merely CNN's and various media's attempt at a cover-up style reporting of a COPOUT that the government is trying to stop sponsoring NASCAR rather than doing what really focusing on healthcare and the really important issues at hand. The end result is that it gives readers as yourself something to steam over rather than be thinking about what the govt. should be doing and is NOT...CHANGING those really important ALTERNATIVE issues that you mention!

      February 17, 2011 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Lifebites

      I agree, we need to cut some of the military budget, we need to stop using contractors or reduce them..but the cuts that have been talked about is needed..what hasnt been talked about is SS...SS was for retirement, not give to kids, not to give for being disable..and we need to enforcement so those that are abusing the system gets caught. We also need to cut Education, and its simple, its not the Federal role and even if you want to argue it, fine..K-12 is ok...but why the heck am I paying for someone else to go to college?? My taxes shouldnt be going for that.....

      Theres a few other things we need to "tighten our belt" on, but lets demand that it applies to all and not just some things

      February 17, 2011 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Lifebites

      Ya know, whats funny is that everybody here wants cuts, cuts, cuts..but nobody is saying, Hey, lets have a fair tax code? or How about getting rid of tax credits to the rich, to the oil companies, to the banks, to us? Why should anybody get earned income credit? Why having kids is a writeoff? Why is having a house, lets you write off the intrest you paid? Why are we giving Aid to other countries when we need it here the most??

      The two parties system WANTS you to focus on other things then this, why? MONEY....Why is the national tax code twenty volumes?? Lets get real people! Before we cut, maybe we should really focus on a simple tax code that APPLIES TO ALL

      February 17, 2011 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  13. Somethought

    Of the 32 million 18-24 year olds that are the target of military recruitment, only 13% meet the minimum requirements. Minimum requirements are physically fit enough to serve (aka, you are fat), do not have a criminal record (aka drug policy results in millions excluded from service due to adolescent choices), and must have a high school diploma (school? Who needs that?). So of that 13% (4.16 Million), how many are not already on great career paths through college? Even more so, how many actually watch NASCAR?

    I have a hard time believing they get a lot of recruits off of this advertising but if they have proof that they get thousands of recruits based on marketing entry surveys then I’m for it. Otherwise, it seems like a waste to me.

    February 16, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • a

      As a servicemember myself, I completely agree with this. It's tough to find qualified people. And if the right people are found, they are those who can't pay for college and enjoy doing things more mentally stimulating than watching cars drive in circles (no disrespect to NASCAR, that's just how the sport looks on the surface, I know it's far more complex). They should put some ad dollars into something better that will catch the young intelligent, unless they're just hurting for ground troops, then by all means advertise on NASCAR and catch a few there. I'm just noting those aren't typically the most qualified or the highest caliber.

      February 16, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Poor and Stupid

      If I join, can I turn left for troops?

      February 16, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moogie713

      You are right in some respects, but the military, in their desperation to recruit warm bodies, are now waiving physical fitness requirements, high school diploma requirements, criminal records, and citizenship. Very few are joining out of patriotism and many are joining due to the economy. My friends and family who joined the National Guard, never dreamed that they would be deployed overseas.

      February 17, 2011 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Justblue2

      @A, I agree....get ads on a Wii.

      February 17, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Justblue2

      They are the youngest and brightest. My 6 y/o Grandson tells me stuff everyday that I have no clue about.

      February 17, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. Eric

    That is why I support Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson...they don't accept government funding for their teams.

    February 16, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck U

      How can you say that? Jeff Gordon has had the National Guard on his car many times as the primary sponsor and all the time as an associate sponsor! Guess you need to pay closer attention to you driver and his car before you make such an uninformed statement like that.

      February 16, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • just sayin'

      You do realize that Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon are teammates of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin. They all drive for Hendrick Motorsports. If you go to: you will see that one of their ten primary sponsors is the National Guard. Therefore, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon do receive monetary funding in a round about way from the military.

      I can see where the congresswoman is coming from, however, I would also like to see all numbers for advertising that the military spends. The sponsorship for Nascar is a flat fee. Then in turn they are put on team websites, driver websites, and the Nascar website, not to mention the on-track and tv exposure that it gives them. Also, the numerous photos that individuals take and pass around – that is free advertising. The cost to produce a commercial, is one price however, it is another price for the advertising slot and time on each station. Also, how much does it cost for the military to do the flyovers during sporting events? I know they do flyovers during the Nascar races. The flyovers are very dramatic and a reminder of what our military does for us.

      I understand we need to cut the budget, I suggest looking at each congressman's salary, vacation pay as well. If they are truly doing this job to serve their country, I hope that they are not making more than our soldiers over in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      February 16, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clyde

      DuPont has several Government contracts and sponsors JG, who in turn owns half of JJ's car. Sorry....

      February 16, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • missa

      @just saying: The flyovers performed at sporting and other events are a part of training exercises. The pilots and soldiers would have been doing them anyway, they are just directed to fly over the stadiums.

      February 16, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joe

    Wow, another break out of common sense in Washington. I am in complete agreement with the congresswoman. This is a total and totally stupid waste of money that we don't have.

    February 16, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alan C Brown

      Let's save a lot of money and cut off Federal funds and grants to colleges and high schools that don't allow ROTC programs and don't allow military recruiters on their campuses to "save" their high holy liberal ideals. NASCAR ads are peanuts compared to the billions of dollars that this would save – plus we might have a "better" military for the elite.

      February 16, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justblue2

      @ACB, All I can say is WOW. You do live here, right ?

      February 17, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
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