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. wonderwall

    $100 million over 10 years is nothing! Do you have any idea what DoD budget is annually?? Next issue please.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Zach

    Ok, so normally I don't post blogs, responses, or whatever the actual term for this type of thing is. However, certain things just rub me the wrong way. As a veteran that has literally never watched NASCAR (just my preference), I don't understand how people can say that that is where you get your "go get 'em" recruits (or whatever your choice of words were). The men and women that serve this Nation come from every walk of life. Speaking from my own experience, the men and women that I served with, and the ones that came before us (thank you all for your service!), none of them did it for recognition (and especially not for NASCAR). I feel it's pretty safe to say that most, if not all, of our service members enlist out of a sense of pride and patriotic duty, not due to an advertisment. That isn't to say that the advertisements aren't a useful recruiting tool, but I don't feel that they are a deciding factor. I won't disagree that it brings immense pride to see our colors, and to hear the Star Spangled Banner, but that's about the most significant effect that it has on many of us. I won't knock anyone down for watching NASCAR just because I choose not to watch it, but I do think it's pretty sad to generalize so much. Every NASCAR fan has to come from the South? I am from Oregon, and I know a few individuals that enjoy NASCAR. Everyone from the South is uneducated? Come on now, that's just ridiculous. I was stationed in Georgia (Ft. Stewart, Third Infantry Division), and yes, some people were ignorant. But you find that everywhere. Saying that NASCAR is only for uneducated, Southerners, is like saying that Baseball is only for educated kids from the Suburbs (obviously not true). Also, has anyone actually ever been in the spotlight for any event after being "welcomed home"? I have, and let me tell you, it isn't the most pleasant experience. Honestly, you just wanna get the hell out of there because you don't wanna be singled out. Someone earlier refrenced the latest MOH recipient, SSG Sal Giunta. He just chose not to re-enlist, mainly due to how much media attention was being pushed on him. I tend to stray away from the whole "political arena", mainly due to my lack of understanding in that area. I have no issues admitting that. However, whether I have a complete understanding or not, I feel that everyone has a right to their opinion (isn't that what makes America great?). I do feel that there are many things that our Nation could focus their spending on (increase funding in our schools instead of cutting Pell Grants, raising taxes on corporations, providing good healthcare to those in need, etc). I may be off base, and some may even think of me as ignorant due to my thoughts. I am okay with that, too. I find it very difficult not to respond and attack individuals that choose to verbally bash our military (you know who you are), but I feel that I would only be wasting my time. I will say that it is easy to criticize the decisions made by our selfless men and women, when it is THEIR boots on the ground. But in reality, it isn't you that will make those choices, nor will you ever have to live with the consequences of having to have made them. I honestly feel that you should ship overseas, and partcipate in a tenth of what we have to endure, and THEN pass judgement. But again, that is just my opinion. The last thing I would like to touch on is the notion that just because you have a College education, or that you are an Officer, that you are "intelligent". Intelligence comes in many forms, and from personal experience, most of them weren't that great. Maybe it was just the lack of knowledge, maybe it was poor leadership. It's hard to sat. Now that is not to say that OCS or ROTC Graduates aren't intelligent (I have met a few), but as an NCO and a College Graduate, I chose to stay enlisted. I have always felt that I could take better care of my men by leading them from the front, not by passing information along, formulating plans, and hoping for the best. Again, that's just my opinion. I sincerely hope that Congress can figure out a realistic and productive way of handling our current deficit, but I don't have the answers. I hope with everything that I am, that as a Disabled veteran, our current conflicts can soon end (I know how unrealistic that is, it is just hope). But most of all, it would be really nice to see all of us stand together as a Nation and try to figure these problems out. I firmly believe that we are the greatest Nation on the planet, even with our mistakes. But you are only as strong as your weakest link, and until we can ALL pull together, we will continuosly decline as a Nation.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • OffWeGo

      It's called paragraph breaks. Look into it.

      February 16, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sheogre

      @Zakia103 and @ Zach....both very well said

      February 16, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Valyr Bye

    END FED FUNDS FOR MINNESOTA! Give em to the military and NASCAR. i've never watched NASCAR but do have a son in military and there's no logical way he or I should have survived that wretched state.

    February 16, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Charlotte

    Rep. MCCollum IF YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT THE BUDGET..HOW ABOUT DONATING HALF YOUR SALARY TO THE ARMED FORCES..T....HEN YOU WON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THE NASCAR SPONSORSHIP. YOU ARE MAKING A MOUNTAIN OUT OF A MOLEHILL....TYPICAL DEMOCRATS.

    February 16, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John C

    Nascar fans are not the ones that fight our wars. They are the ones that send your kids to fight thier wars.

    February 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. abdullah

    Allah Allah Allah Akbar america die

    February 16, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Atlantan

      Do you understand that you just said, "God, God, God is great?"

      February 16, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clyde

      I dare you to go to a NASCAR race and say that!!!! You would find out what DNF stands for.

      February 16, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Richard

    Don't forget the U.S. Army supports drag racing too

    U.S. Army renews partnership with Don Schumacher Racing
    11/30/2010
    The U.S. Army Accessions Command announced today that the U.S. Army has renewed its motorsports partnerships with Don Schumacher Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing for 2011. The U.S. Army will again sponsor Tony Schumacher’s Top Fuel Dragster in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, while Ryan Newman’s No. 39 Chevrolet Impala will sport the U.S. Army colors as the primary sponsor for 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races next season. The U.S. Army also is set to continue its associate sponsorship with NHRA Full Throttle driver Antron Brown in 2011, as well as its role as the official military partner of the NHRA.

    February 16, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TheBabs49

    Cuts are being made to schools, and State budgets across the country – Absolutly there should be NO tax payer dollars going to support Military activity in NASCAR ! Geepers Creepers ! Where are our priorities going ?

    February 16, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clyde

      The sponsorship is not a one way street. The driver's help out veterans charities and each team arranges for members of the military to be at the tracks as honorary team members. It is called a morale booster. They also visit oversees bases in their spare time to boost morale. Most of the volunteer time that is spent by the driver's, both sponsored and not is an invaluable tool for not only recruiting but morale.

      February 16, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jerry

    All advertising is a huge waste. When you buy something expensive you aren't paying for quality, you're paying for the overhead. This is particularly true with BS political ads. Hey Betty, how much have you spent on your campaigns? It takes millions to run for office. That money would be much better spent on real issues, not electing some blowhard rich politician. Typically hypocritical politician. Betty you are a moron.

    February 16, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clyde

      She doesn't have to spend much to be re elected in her district. She just has to promise that the checks for doin' next to nothing keep rolling in and she wins in a landslide every time. Trust me her district is someplace that hard working Minnesotans avoid.

      February 16, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Al

    You have to advertise somewhere. If on TV, the owners and shareholders get the profits. If on a billboard, the owners and shareholders get the profits. If in news print, the owners and shareholders get the profits. If in a magazine, the owners and shareholders get the profit. Get the picture? NASCAR has a long season. And with three events per weekend (Cup, Nationwide, and Truck series) the audience is huge! It may very well be the best spent money on the planet within an advertising venue! With approx 85 races across the board per year the total costs are absorbed well. Add the public appearances, and it gets even better. Where else could you get this level of coverage for that LITTLE money. As a taxpayer, I approve my 3 cents being spent this way. (308M people ÷ $10M/yr for this expense alone.) I also approve my ~0.000003 cents against the total Federal Budget of $3.55 Trillion dollars. She will waste over $10M in collateral costs on this subject alone- by just talking.

    February 16, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. abdullah

    We were always free and my children alive you american killed my only son how do I feel remember our Prophet said "beware one will arise and dominate" this is our King Osama that dominate america

    February 16, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. uncle jimbo

    Absolutely nuts for our tax $$$ going to fund the Military in NASCAR . Cut baks in school funding, police and firefighters, crumbling roads and bridges that theGOP cant seem to find the money for – but they can let the Military spend our hard earned tax dollars on NASCAR ! NUTS !

    February 16, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. el americano

    Abdullah, seems like you have a lot of pinned up agression. Can I interest you in a Ham Sandwich and a couple of beers? I know that a ham sandwich always conforts me when I am sad or angry..l

    February 16, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Language Police

      el americano... it's "pent-up aggression" NOT "pinned up agression"

      February 16, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Greg

    If the sponsorship helps with recruiting, it may be money well spent.

    February 16, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Me

    Don't the sponsers get paid a percentage of whatever the driver earns? I thought that they got a little something back? Anyway, while someone may not go into the military strictly based on the NASCAR advertising, it may spark questions and they may walk into a recruiting office to ask questions due to seeing the car in general. I doubt it makes their mind up soley, but it could be what gets the ball rolling so to speak. I wish the army would cancel their dumb commercials of kids talking to their parents about how much they thought their decision thru, but it could be a good tool for them in getting kids into the office. I do not think advertising on a NASCAR is a huge deal, but I wouldn't really rule it out as a recruiting tool.....

    February 16, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
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