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. Food4Thought

    This is ignorant. I usually do not post on articles like this, but I really felt a need to do so here... I cannot believe there are soooo many ignorant, arrogant people in America. There are 100 other ways that we can and should cut spending. #1 Bring the troops HOME and BLOCK our borders...STOP fighting other countries wars...3.4B = "cost avoidance". We could BALANCE the budget in 5 yrs. #2 let's take the luxuries from INMATES...TV, Internet, College degrees and free health care should be done on EARNED time from HARD can earn 1 hour per week IF you put in a hard days work and do not cause trouble...if they need medical care, they can get it on their EARNED time. Prison would be far less appealing to those that think it is a game; crime rates would greatly reduce; prison population would reduce and the need for additional prisons would no longer be an issue...want to guess at that "cost avoidance"??? Why do you want to start with NASCAR?? So, the average American loves NASCAR and you equate that to being a redneck...and a redneck is??? Do you know any??? Doubtful...because the rednecks that I know are honest, hard working people...yes,, women & children (at times), who work farms, factories, schools, hospitals, gov, etc etc....they are people JUST like, not like you...they are BETTER than you...far better....because they have respect for others, they have moral values, they know what work REALLY is and they are proud to be parents of soldiers, they are proud to have the "average" we love NASCAR...SO WHAT! NASCAR is the one thing that the government does support and it is a GOOD thing. I guess you think we need to continue to support illegal immigrants... let's give them another's $25k to get started, buy a house...oh, here's another $50k...start your own business because we are cutting heating assistance for the REAL Americans earning minimum wage....oh, and NASCAR is a redneck game...let's cut the gov/NASCAR relationship...let's reduce our military and open the door for attack...WHAT WILL YOU DO WHEN WAR HITS HOME??? FOR YOUR SAKE, I HOPE YOU KNOW A REDNECK BECAUSE THEY WILL SURVIVE...THEY KNOW WHAT FRIENDSHIP IS, THEY KNOW WHAT LOYALTY IS AND THEY KNOW HOW TO USE A if you find rednecks repulsive, look in the mirror because we find you pitiful and helpless. You will be nothing when the power fails because you are too ignorant to solve an issue without an electronic device. And one more thing...if our dear prez would have "bailed out" every American making under $100k/yr in lieu of bailing out the business crooks of the world, where would we be???...ummmm, lets see, people would have used that to pay off debts...their mortgages, their credit cards...hmmm, wouldn't that have "bailed out the banks??? They would have bought new cars, "bailing out" the auto industry...they would have taken trips, "bailing out" the airlines, and they would have made big purchases: washers, dryers, refrigerators, furniture etc, etc "bailing out" the retail stores...but NOOOOO, lets just give it to the crooks of the world and let them partaay to their hearts content and let's raise the taxes on the "average American"...after all, they are used to it...Get REAL people...where is YOUR head???

    February 16, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • chbama2

      VERY WELL SAID!!!! Proud to be a hard working, nascar loving, military wife, born, raised and educated in the SOUTH.

      February 16, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ohjay

      Where to start? I was in the military during the Korean War. Remember that one? Yes a lot of S*** has happened (a Vietnam War lingo). Do you get the gist? The Army is mining an audience of numbed minds. Who can blame them? It is the corporate ethics, screw them, we want results, NASCAR is simply an innocent victim to far insidious infection.

      February 16, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sheogre

      AMEN! Well said!

      February 17, 2011 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  2. JJ

    If the US wants to save money, we ought to militarly pull out of every foreign country and bring all the troops home. What did theses foreign countries ever do for us???? Screw the world and lets focus on ourselves.

    February 16, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ralph

    It is marketing, You need marketing to support an all volunteer military. Who are these idiots in congress who have no idea how to operate a business.

    February 16, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kelly T

    What about the $14M they spend in Indycar and all the lawsuits we read about with Panther Racing. Panther's driver filed a lawsuit that said he didn't get paid. One of Roger Penske's companies also files a lawsuit that they did not get paid by Panther and then there was another one claiming that Panther never paid them. All the suits were filed in the same month. Where did that money go?

    February 16, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Drew Rogers

    If Betty McCollum has a problem with the Army sponsoring NASCAR, she should go to the oversight committee that is in charge of reviewing whichever Colonel that makes the marketing decisions. It should not be done through Legislation that wastes Congress' time, but Congress should remove someone from the job if Congress thinks the army is wasting taxpayer dollars.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Zakia103

    Did you know how NASCAR has helped the military?? Google it and you will find this artilce from 2005- WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Jan. 11, 2005) – NASCAR windshield tear-offs will soon provide Army helicopters an extra layer of protection from sand, rocks and debris.Current predictions estimate the life of one tear-off to be about six months. As long as the tear-off is not hit by something it won’t handle, like bullets, and a fresh piece of Mylar is kept on it, the windshield should last forever.“Tear-offs will save the Army repair, increase readiness, and save a great deal of money in both material and maintenance costs,”. Other contributors to the funding, research and fielding of the tear-offs have been the Defense Logistics Agency, Richmond, Va., the Black Hawk Project Office, Huntsville, Ala., and the Aviation Applied Technology Directorate, Fort Eustis, Va. Installation of the tear-offs on Black Hawks in Iraq and Kuwait.
    What other sport STOPS during the middle of a game to salute the troops? On a Memorial Day race, they red flagged (stopped) the race, drivers shut their engines off for a moment of silence to honor our military men and women. *At 3 p.m., after Lap 164, NASCAR red-flagged the race for a Memorial Day salute-it's on YouTube-watch it!! (2009 Coca-Cola 600 – NASCAR Honors Our Veterans. Military flyovers are done as practices by pilots as flight time and training by nearby bases-Nellis does the flyover @ Vegas, Dover planes@ Dover races, etc. The Air Force accounts for the flyovers as training missions and says they benefit recruitment efforts. In return for flyovers, recruiters usually get a place at events to set up a table and distribute literature. "We don't just do a fly-by and call it a day," said Lieutenant Colonel Lloyd Goodrow, a spokesman for the Vermont Air National Guard's 158th fighter wing, which will fly over Fenway (baseball) today. "We have an extensive training plan during the day. The pilots have in-air training objectives. We don't just generate flights for flyovers." Please note that flyovers are also done for stick and ball sports too. NASCAR drivers, sponsors and fans are some of the most patriotic and loyal to our servicemen and women by honoring their service by every event on NASCAR weekends, creating charities to help service people and their families in many ways, both publicly and by ways you never hear about on the news or if you are not a follower of the sport. Weekend festivities are provided free of charge to active service members and their families as a way of saying thans for serving the country & to give them some enjoyment. If the government should end sponsorship, it should do so for ALL sports, not just NASCAR. Even the American Red Cross occasionally sponsors a car to help bring awareness & raise needed funds. There is more than this Congressperson is leading all to believe, so before you just believe what she has stated, do some research on cost vs. benefit to our country. Just my opinion......

    February 16, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. keith

    the true waste of money is the salaries we pay to members of Congress.....these sponsorships aid recruiting but paying members of congress does nothing but allow them to continue to screw the taxpayer with their stupid use of our money for pointless pork barrel projects – what a dumb beeyotch

    February 16, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tom S

    Yep cancel it, save the bucks. While we're at it bring back the draft. Give every American an oppertunity to serve.
    Oh and if your an objector,.......... You get double the draft time working drug & Illegal immigration interdiction at the border....... save some money and then put it to work......
    Just my $0.02

    February 16, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. surfinmars

    I will only back Betty if she uses the money saved to deport all the Somali cabbies in the twin cities area. Betty is a mole...Minnesota is quietly becoming Muslimsota. You all know its true.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. James

    Is this really the most important thing they can focus on right now? Nascar... turn left, turn left, turn left *yawn* Bunch of nearly identical race cars with fake bodies made to resemble production cars they have NOTHING in common with. Stock car racing was cool back when it was actual stock cars.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JM1989

    Thanks Betty for bringing this military waste to light. Just think if the military had spent $10M on veterans so they wouldn't have to go homeless. How many children of veterans are living in shelters while NASCAR entertains at their expense. I don't want my tax dollars to pay for race cars to pollute the environment.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cynthia Burckhard

      JM it is not just children of military people living in the streets its military veterans who get kicked out of the military for BS that are living on the streets also. Go to any place you live and start asking your homeless and I could bet that atleast 1 in 5 were veterans of some war, wether it be korea, vietnam, even the wars going on now have homeless living in the streets.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Cynthia Burckhard

    Honestly if they cut down the military the deficit will go higher cause more people will be out of a job. There are not enough jobs in the US right now for the people that are not in the military, what is going to happen if we cut the military number? The deficit is going to get worse and more people are going to start doing worse things. Now on the other hand how about we cut the contractors pay? They make ATLEAST 4 times the amount a soldier makes overseas. Also how about we cut the spending on BS stuff up in the whitehouse? Who cares what your presentation looks like? It is what is said that people need to pay attention to and sign a bill for not because your presentation looks pretty and the fact that you spent a million dollars of the tax payers money on it.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Fed Up with the Nonsense're all missing the point and arguing over the wrong stuff. What you should be debating is should th government "BAN" this funding by making it illegal, or should they simply "CUT" it from the budget like they did the $435M for the F-35 second engine program. In that article, I don't remember seeing anything about a BAN of the program, just that it was cut from the budget.

    February 16, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chris M

    I find it utterly offensive to claim that "NASCAR fans are the kind of people who fight America's wars". I enlisted earlier this year, and I find NASCAR to be an obscene waste of time, energy and space. The reason our military spending is so high is because we are technologically superior to every other armed service in the world, not because we like to watch things turn left over and over again.

    February 16, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Define Redneck To Me

    I am a college educated woman (Masters Degree) in my 30's. I earn over 100k a year. I have all of my teeth, am not overweight, don't smoke, don't do any drugs and drink in moderation. I am not – and never have been on welfare. I live in Ohio, not the deep South. And I have been a huge NASCAR fan for well over 15 years. I guess that throws your NASCAR stereotype right out the window.

    February 16, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      Thank YOU!!

      February 17, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
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