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. Josh

    Military sponsorship of NASCAR cars = kids watching with their parents are exposed to the fact that the military IS a viable option after high school.

    Military sponsorship of college sporting events (Military Bowl, for example) = college students exposed to the idea of either enlisting or becoming a commissioned officer and putting their degree to use.

    The latter is a better example, because it's no longer how it was portrayed in the movie "Full Metal Jacket" where recruits are just assigned a job. Military recruits actually get to choose their carreer field when they enlist, and officers have to have a degree in their job specialty's field.

    February 16, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • FISTer13F

      “The latter is a better example, because it's no longer how it was portrayed in the movie "Full Metal Jacket" where recruits are just assigned a job. Military recruits actually get to choose their carreer field when they enlist, and officers have to have a degree in their job specialty's field.”
      Um, not so much. Only the Army can guarantee a job, if it is available at the time of enlistment. The Air Force and Navy offer a career field and I haven’t heard of any changes with the Marines, they still put you where they need you. Officers don’t need a degree in their specialty unless it is a specific job that requires specialized training, such as a doctor or nuclear engineer. I’m in the artillery and have worked with officers with computer or engineering degrees. Not much use as a field artillery officer.

      February 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • a

      Way to have completely false information, fist. How embarrassing to comment on your sister services' way of doing things and be incorrect.

      You may choose 8 specific jobs in order of preference with the Air Force as enlisted. You'll probably get one of your top three, and it'll be assigned before you even set foot in basic. Some people CHOOSE to enlist in an open career field (a basic category of jobs) because it will expedite their getting into basic faster. I've been told by Navy and Marine buds it works the very same way.

      February 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jason B.

    $100 million over 10 years? Why...that could've paid for a fraction of 1 aircraft! Or a fraction of 1 tank! How dare the Pentagon be so wasteful.

    *sarcasm switch off*

    February 16, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • My Two Cents

      It was already noted in a prior reply, that the monies saved could have been used to better protect our military with body armor. For those that are against that simple fact, I would also guess you hope that more in our military will not come back, then we will have to support them after they get out. Better they get killed than come back with an injury.

      February 16, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Douglas

    they need to target every drop of money wasted, no matter how small. it all adds up to a horrific amount of waste. It's also a waste of money to fly fighter planes over the super bowl. WASTE!

    February 16, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • NavyVet

      WASTE? The sense of pride I feel when I watch any event with a flyover is overwhelming at times. My 2 young sons notice this and at that moment, I feel I'm instilling a sense of pride in them, as well. If they grow up to be great enlisted men or commissioned officers, then fantastic. If they don't, then fantastic – it's their choice. But at least I'm doing my part to make them feel proud of their country, its flag and its military.....more than I can say for alot of people in this country anymore.

      February 16, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • OffWeGo

      Glad you get tinglies watching the jets fly over ... no one at the Superbowl saw them because the ROOF WAS CLOSED.

      February 16, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • wonderwall

      Air shows were the reason I joined.

      February 16, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • uaskigyrl

      It's a waste to have a fly over when you do it Jerry Jones style and leave the roof closed!!

      February 16, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Billy

      It just so happens they flew over the Superbowl. If they hadn't they would still be flying, pilots need flight hours to stay current. Maybe do a little research before you start sounding like a moron. Oh, if they cut the advertisement to get new recruits they save money by not getting new recruits/employees to pay!!! Double whammy!!

      February 17, 2011 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. Brian

    right, good call Ace

    February 16, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ProperVillain

    NASCAR sponsorships (or any other sports sponsorships for that matter) are not crucial for anything having to do with national well being. The government needs to stay out of these. What a collosal waste of taxpayer money.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Frangible

    Yeah, most people who watch NASCAR are rednecks. So what? Do you recall during the civil war, it was rednecks vs. the union, and those confederate rednecks were grossly superior as individual soldiers, tactically, and strategically?

    This has been studied in numerous wars since. In WWII, recruits from urban areas on average did not kill a single enemy soldier, whereas those from rural areas had ~40 kills or something. When it comes to rednecks, they're pretty much avatars of death on the battlefield.

    The question isn't why are they advertising at NASCAR. The question is, why are they bothering to advertise anywhere else? Given that historically, if you're not a redneck, you're at least an order of magnitude on average less effective.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • JimboG

      This has been studied in numerous wars since. In WWII, recruits from urban areas on average did not kill a single enemy soldier, whereas those from rural areas had ~40 kills or something.
      ==============================================================================
      WHAT???? This is absolutely absurd. Can you point us in the direction of one of these so-called studies?
      Of course, you can't! There are none! If you want to throw out lies, at least make them somewhat believable.

      February 16, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • OffWeGo

      If you think 19th century shooting skills are any match for modern technology, you are sadly mistaken. While all the rednecks (your word, not mine) are being such badasses with their shooting skills, some 22 year old Chinese kid with a degree will bomb them all to smithereens with a missile from the unmanned aerial vehicle he is controlling from 8,000 miles away. Then he will pick up McDonalds on his way home to his wife and kids. So sure, keep recruiting from the (demographically speaking) bottom of the barrel.

      February 16, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justblue2

      We may have been better shots, but I'm pretty sure that we LOST.

      February 17, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. geecee827

    I stand corrected! I said "watch NPR" in my previous post and of course, NPR stands for National Public Radio, which can't be watched. I should have said "listen" to NPR. But I do watch PBS, the Public Broadcasting System, which is invaluable as a resource for so many incredibly interesting and relevant science programs, news reports, and theatrical presentations like Masterpiece Theatre. All are so well done and educational. But to watch fast cars speeding around in circles for hours at a time seems like a waste of valuable hours that you won't get back!! Don't the NASCAR lovers have anything better to do?

    February 16, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alan C Brown

      Quit giving taxpayer money to NPR – National Public Radio. NPR has a political liberal tilt and does not need tax monies to operate anyway. No one ever joined the military because of something said on NPR unless it was in complete disagreement with NPR.

      February 16, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cody

    I thought we had bigger issues in this country. Leave NASCAR be.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. the_dude

    I say we take the military advertising money and spend it on things like free gender altering surgeries for anyone that wants them. Free aids testing and clean drug supplies to every addict that needs them.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • FISTer13F

      Or take that money and put it to better use WITHIN the military.

      February 16, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • jesse

      ya duuuuuuuuuude tooootaly!

      February 16, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • anti-dude

      Please tell me you're kidding. I don't see giving the money for things for the underbelly of society being anymore wasteful than the ads themselves.

      February 17, 2011 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jjs3rd

    Hey this is an American site discussing something American. If you don't like it, why don't you leave. FOREVER!

    February 16, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. J.G.

    Why did this Congresswoman create an amendment BEFORE challenging the Pentagon for statistics? What are we paying HER for? Home Depot awaits you, Ma'am.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. TheMovieFan

    Stop NASCAR welfare.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Laughable

    Pretty tough to complain about 100 million when we spend billions on people are in our country for a free ride, or to do things that cause real harm to us such as the idiots who stole 767’s and flew them into the World Trade centers killing over 5000 people. Calling each other names… such as Redneck, or setting at home complaining that they can’t get a job because we have outsourced everything to China or whoever. We have a lot to fix in this nation, NASCAR is not the enemy nor is that 100 million the issue. If we want change we start by being involved with our government and quit arm chair quarterbacking every time somebody does something we don’t like. Get involved people.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Wynter

    I'm sorry, but what does it matter?
    This is just the ARMY Recruiters advertising! It's not sponsoring a car. It's more of getting your ad space out in the public eye so young adults will consider joining up. If it works then keep doing it. If it doesn't then they can decide to drop it. It's their recruiting strategy congress, not yours!

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

      It matters because it is our money that they are using to advertise something everyone already knows about. There is no evidence that suggest seeing the word ARMY on a racecar entices a person to join the actual army. Wouldnt you agree the money could be better spent procuring effective body armor for the brave souls that are already IN the army, rather than using it to simply rercruit more cannon fodder??

      February 16, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • who cares 666

      Will you people quit the crying about body armor. That was so 3 years ago. Every one in Iraq and Afghanistan has capable body armor. Please pick some other myth to focus on!

      February 17, 2011 at 6:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. shy

    As a retired Air Force firefighter, I agree that it is time to stop spending so much money on advertising on large scale projects. It was the presence of my local recruiting office that peeked my attention, not the overpriced national ads on television. I don't think that many people joined the military because of NASCAR.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • FISTer13F

      Nope, not NASCAR. I had a recruiter come to my high school. I would say, though, that the station was the main reason for joining.

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