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. kris

    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

    Why don't we generalize a little more.

    February 17, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Anna

      I know people who go to Nascar races and they are to out of shape to get into the military and serve because they spend a lot of time sitting and watching Nascar races! And if they wanted to join the service they would have already done so- and people join the military because they want to have a job and feed themselves and their family, not because they saw an ad on a car speeding by at 120 miles per hour.

      February 17, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Jorge

      ROFL-Fight America's wars??? From where, the electric handicap chairs they commandeer at the Walmarts? With what, a pulled pork dinner plate smothered with BBQ sauce, collard greens cooked in bacon fat and a banana pudding grenade?

      February 17, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. Marc L from NY

    I was guessing Democrat before I read the article. I don't know this woman, but I am willing to bet liberal Democrat. I wonder why she hates the military so much.

    February 17, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jorge

    NASCAR is to autosports what WWE is to martial arts, nonetheless, it only makes sense that the military power establishment would pander through it to get to the 'squirrel huntin'/"shoot 'em all, let God sort 'em out" crowd. YEEEHAAAA. (By the way, before anyone goes off on another 'them damn illegals' tirade, I was born in Manhattan.)

    February 17, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Baxter

      Got any more stereotypes you want to show your As with?

      February 17, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Shamrock6

      First – you get the dumbest post award for the month of February on CNN. Second – as per your post there certainly is NO shortage of idiots in usual.

      February 17, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Zakia103

      Stereotype much??? Your comments are really ignorant and I'm betting you've not been to a race. I've worked at NASCAR races all over the US for our family's business and believe me, a huge percentage of the fan base are quite the opposite of your perception. Doctors, lawyers, professionals, business owner, etc. spend lots of $$ at these events & make more money than you know how to count.

      AND note to "nghusker": Flyovers are done in conjunction with pilot training & flight time and are coordinated at bases close to tracks. Either way, the planes would be in the sky, so after they do their flyover, they are still
      in the air, so either way, their is a cost. What about the cost involved @ airshows & stick & ball sports?? I can't believe your comment about them crashing @ a race-planes fly over your house, don't they?

      February 18, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Anna

    If Nascar fans love the US military so much why don't they put US military ads on their cars without charging for it? I fly a US flag on my house and no one sends me a check!!!!!

    February 17, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Baxter

      For the same reason no one pays you to show your home movies vs. Hollywood. Sheesh I bet you overplay your hand in poker too.

      February 17, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • RocketJL

      Anna, someone has already paid the bill for your freedom. For those of us that do like NASCAR and have served away from our families in the line of fire, I say you are one that has no idea what she is talking about. No one is asking you to be more than you are, so please do not put down things you clearly do not understand. Oh by the way, if you will send us your boyfriends email, we will write and ask him to not watch NASCAR when you want his attentions. However, all NASCAR fans have other 'things', but I guess those guy things are next on your list.

      February 17, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Anna

      Hey there Rocket- my whole family has served in the US military, and I know what I am talking about. No US military ad on a car speeding by has ANYTHING to do with supporting our troops, it just goes to pay ADVERTISING BILLS. If money is being thrown out the window to generate a patriotic feeling and recruit troops in a civilian arena, I say AGAIN- pay me to fly the US flag in public. Otherwise Nascar is Anti-US, since it wont support our troops with out a check. And in your opinion, that would be wrong, correct?

      February 17, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      Anna are you on drugs or just plain stupid? When someone comes to buy your house, are you gonna just give it to them, or sell it?

      March 5, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. cindy

    Oh please Rep. Betty McCollum, find something worthwhile to fight for. Leave NASCAR alone!

    February 17, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |

    let the drivers pay for their own sponors not our tax dollars if you want the goverment to pay for them when they make millions then lets not cut out feeding childern its funny the rep. want to cut helping veterans but not nascar always helping the rich

    February 17, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      If the drivers were to pay then how would they make money?

      March 5, 2011 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  7. Gordon Silliker

    Effective military recruiting is key to ensuring the armed forces are staffed with capable and quality personnel. The larger the pool of recruits we can draw from, the better we can screen those we allow in to ensure that we a healthy human resources pool. While military advertising may cost $10 million per year, the risk we run of having poorly screened personnel conducting combat operations and being in charge of expensive equipment will in the long run cost the taxpayers far more than the advertising does. The congresswoman's proposal is myopic and ignorant.

    February 17, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  8. Rob94hawk

    Nascar really doesn't need public funding. It's get's it's funds from people like me who is college educated, a great job and doesn't live in the south. But then if you're going to cut funding from Nascar then you better start cutting funds going to foreign countries, the wasteful UN, NPR, illegal immigrants, welfare riders and irresponsible breeders. I think right here this would save the taxpayers untold BILLIONS!

    February 17, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • nghusker

      ".... people like me who is college educated... " Great education !!

      February 17, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  9. Willie12345

    If it's an effective recruiting tool, that can be proven to some degree. If it's not, then by all means stop it. Get the best data possible and then make a reasonable choice,

    February 17, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    The military has to advertise in order to attract the caliber of people they need. If recruits were lined up at the door, they wouldn't need to advertise at all. Like all organizations, they've apparently done the analysis needed and determined that advertising at NASCAR events makes financial sense. Once again, a politician without a clue feels a need to step in and over-legislate. I'm sure we could find more than $100M that Congress has wasted over the years; why not ban their largess?

    February 17, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jake

    The military is going to advertise somewhere. If not Nascar, then on posters and on TV. What's the difference? It's part of their advertising budget.

    February 17, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. Ezra

    NASCAR is such a stupid waste of time and resources ans so is the military. A match made in heaven.

    February 17, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • markfromstarke

      Ezra: I strongly disagree with your comment, not so much about Nascar of which I'm not a fan personally, but do think it's good clean entertainment for those who like it . My problem is with your comment about the military being a waste. You have been seriously over-protected all of your life. Remember that if we hadn't had a strong military you would be speaking German right now. And if we don't maintain a strong military , we will all be speaking Arabic sooner than you think.

      February 17, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • cj

      coming from an illegal immigrant or off spring from an illegal, one of which I'm totally guessing has never served in the military. Just another issue with a lot of people in this country. No National Pride unless it's another country... Not the one who gives you the right to run off at the mouth with your rhetoric..

      February 17, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • GI Joe

      Ezra, I have been in the US Mlitary for over 18 years now. I love this country, despise socialism, can't stand a liberal and strongly disagree with you comment (I am guessing you are a socilist liberal). But, in America, you have the freedom to make that statement. Ever stop to think why you have that right??? If you don't like the military or America, you can always go to another country, say Cuba??

      February 17, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  13. Scot B

    If the services are meeting all their recruiting quotas, then maybe their marketing expenses would warrant some scrutiny. But last I heard, the Army, Marines, etc were having trouble meeting their recruiting needs. Remember "Stop Loss"? Conscription is no longer an option; the military has to recruit like any other private organization and that means marketing. So unless the military is not having any trouble with recruiting and retaining qualified personnel, leave the marketing and recruiting decisions to the services and find something else to scrutinize. Offhand comments by uninformed, unrelated congressmen/women from the other side of the country (there probably is no racing in her district) is amateurish and irresponsible.

    February 17, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  14. jan farmer


    February 17, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • RocketJL

      Typical response from those with limited knowledge. Why not say, stop sending our money to foreign countries. This money could be used to build better vehicles to protect our troops. We could use money given to Congressional perks or the Presidents buddies. The list is very long before we get to NASCAR. I will tell you that NASCAR means more to the troops than a lot of political pundits and free loaders at home.

      February 17, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. Robb

    Seems like NASCAR is one of the smartest uses of marketing dollars – it's a built in target audience of testosterone filled young men and women who would be the most open to the message of a military career. A real waste would be spending money to sponsor a symphony. Again, we're nickel and diming. Why don't you start the cuts with your own huge staff. Something like 40,000 people support Congressmen.

    February 17, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
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