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. Bill

    Randy Poston is a condescending moron. Saying NASCAR fans are the kinds of Americans who fight our wars is a bonehead statement he can't back up. If he believes that, then have him call McCollum's bluff and show us one army soldier who enlisted solely because of an ad he saw on a car. You can't, because anyone who would risk their life to join the army only because they saw an ad on the hood of a car is too stupid to go to battle. While we're playing the stereotype game, Randy, I could also say that the majority of NASCAR fans are too obese and lazy to join the military.

    February 16, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Chris in the center of Canada

    Shucks dagnabit and I was just going to enlist...furgizt now y'all messing with my Nascar.

    February 16, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ronda

    The Nascar Family represents America better than any oher.
    When is the last time a NASCAR driver has been arrested? When is the last time a NASCAR Driver been caught cheating on his spouse?
    NASCAR fans fight and die for this courntry more than any other sport fan base out there.

    February 17, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      That would certainly be worthy of admiration if we weren't invading countries for no reason, torturing and killing the citizens, and racking up huge debt while we do. Military should be self-defense only- then, I would gladly serve.

      February 17, 2011 at 4:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dave

    NASCAR IS DEAD,AND IT IS A WASTE OF TAX PAYERS MONEY TO PUT HERE NAME ON THESE WANNA BE ATHLETES.

    February 17, 2011 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. Michael Ojaste

    Read this about another tool costing millions http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-557046. The US Army pays for kids to play video games.

    February 17, 2011 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. Chris

    By all means, scale back the NASCAR sponsorships–maybe $90 million over ten years or even $50 million. Cutting these sponsorships altogether would almost certainly be a mistake. NASCAR sponsorships are an extremely effective form of marketing. Maybe no one decides to join the military solely because of a NASCAR sponsorship, but that sponsorship is what gets the recruiter's foot in the door. Anyway, the military has the numbers; they know exactly what there recruitment was for ever month of the past decade and how much money was spent on NASCAR-recruiting. It is a simple analysis, and the congresswoman doesn't have it.

    Of course, you could always just reinstate the draft...

    February 17, 2011 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. Pontiaction

    What would one expect from a Dem from the frozen north. Not much when it comes to racing and national advertising. The US Army is a big time sponsor in the NHRA. Also many people attend church services on Saturdays and Wednesdays, due to various work schedules. This women insults the racing fans who live in Minnesota.

    February 17, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. Bryan Herbert

    I didn't even know the US Army had its own car in NASCAR. One would think the guns, explosives and tanks would be enough incentive to join. If I had all my original body parts and weren't fused the amateur radio operator in me would sign up in a heartbeat.

    February 17, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  9. Rob

    I thought that democrats were supposed to be accepting of all people and supporting those less fortunate. I've been coming to CNN for years and have quickly learned that is not the case. There is more slander thrown around here and inappropriate name calling than anywhere else. It is just a sad state.

    February 17, 2011 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  10. ricky

    You can take the Military out of NASCAR...BUT you can't take NASCAR out of the Military!!!!!

    February 17, 2011 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. High Llama

    Ok, admittedly the numbers break down to approximately 10 million per year, so that isn't going to be a fix-all for the budget, but nor is it a significant portion of the defense budget. With that said, it does seem like it is spending for the sake of spending.... almost as if it is one of the often heard about situations in government where 'if you don't spend your entire budget you aren't going to get as much next year'. So in that respect, at least cutting this particular expenditure is something, but I'm sure there are bigger fish to fry somewhere else. Like many others I agree that if the one thing that compels you to serve in your county's military is the fact that there is a decal on Dale's car, then you might not be the caliber of recruit the U.S. really needs. Cutting this expenditure isn't going to bring recruiting to a screeching halt, in fact it probably would be better for all involved if military recruiters got out from behind the desk and into high school cafeterias and college campuses and spread the word about what skills they can get in the military that will make them marketable as a civilian, such as engineering, electronics, mechanics, logistics, aviation, air traffic control, etc.

    February 17, 2011 at 3:49 am | Report abuse |
  12. kevin

    What is she talking about? Why dont you cut the pay of our biggest problems or just start layoffs of Congress men and women that dont do anything. Oh wow what a great thought then they can find out what its like to be part of this country they are messing up!! Or better yet stop there pay when they are not in session and medical benefits, Now thats saving tax payers money!!!!! I'm Just Saying!!!!!

    February 17, 2011 at 4:09 am | Report abuse |
  13. Curtis Shanks

    That's what's wrong with this country. Women in government offices !

    February 17, 2011 at 4:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. MacArthur

    There is no need to advertise for recruits. Everyone knows about the military. Whole video games are designed around the military which is more than enough advertising in and of itself.

    The only advertising should be through online services with links limited to legitimate news, sports and weather websites. Slash all other funding out of their recruiting budgets.

    February 17, 2011 at 4:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. Dave

    It's a nice gesture to stop wasting all of this money- but it isn't sincere. It's only a suggestion because we're knee-deep in our own filth. Will this save money? Yes. Will it reduce recruitment? Not enough to measure. We might do better to recruit some of our best and brightest instead, or keep the ones we have. That $100 million could sure pay for a lot of medical care for our neglected vets.

    On a side note: the Republicans don't have the answer, and the Democrats don't either. We have the answers- but we let them divide us with trivial matters. Ignorantly following the party line doesn't make it true. Dividing us gives us a conflict, and draws the attention away from where it needs to be. We've made our fellow Americans into our enemies because of misinformation and false ideals. Basing one's opinions off of the 'news' that they feed us doesn't serve anyone except the people in power, either. Seeing so many Americans be so rude and inflexible makes me quite ashamed. We're better than this.

    This boils down to our acceptance of a system that degrades us and turns us into commodities. And, we continually buy in to the premise that this is a free country, so much so that it's entered the lexicon. But, is it? Ask yourself that question. We may have freedom of speech, but somehow, we've managed to dilute that to the point where it no longer means anything. Our knee jerk reaction to all things Muslim proves that freedom of religion is dead. We can only assemble in "free speech zones", or get a permit. Our 2nd amendment rights only apply in certain situations. Our bodies and psyches are violated on a whim.

    Freedom is dead, until America decides to rediscover her roots and her true power: the people.

    February 17, 2011 at 4:48 am | Report abuse |
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