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. Steve Black

    Does Rep McCollum want to eliminate all Air Force's recruitment advertising or does she just want to delete any NASCAR advertising? I am a Southerner who really doesn't care for NASCAR, but I do care about the manpower and recruitment of the US Armed Forces. If NASCAR sponsorship does actually increase recruitment, then I support NASCAR sponsorship. If it doesn't really help recruitment, then ditch the sponsorships and find something that really does work. Let's make sure we don't throw the baby out with the wash.

    February 17, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Retired_Army

    For those who are tired of promoting and manning an all-volunteer force, there is one very cheap solution: reinstate the draft. I am guessing that the greater majority of those critical of the defense dept marketing program(s) have never served...perhaps bringing back the draft would resolve that inequity. Isn't that what liberals want in all things...equity??

    February 17, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Michelle

    I'm a big nascar fan, I love Ryan Newman the driver of the US Army car. My husband is retired Navy, My son is in the Army and I'm a GS DoD employee. My pay is frozen for the next two years. My husband retirment got decreased! My son makes less than $30,000 a year and has been deployed to Iraq for a year Where they lost people in their group! It is sad when your military families income is so low they qualify for food stamps and low income housing!!! They fight for our freedom, they go to war. They should be among the highest paid in the country not the lowest!

    Like I said I like to watch nascar, but I think if the government has to cut and freeze the pay of their employee's then they need to make cuts in some non essential areas as well. They sponsor the cars for recruitment pruposes. I think they can recruit just fine without sponsoring those cars. They need to put the money back in their Military personnel's and civil service personnel before they put in in a race car. If the USPS have a sponsorship program it needs to be cut as well.

    I'm pretty sure no one has joined the military because they saw the pretty car going round and round in circles at a race....I'm sure they didn't say WOW that car is neat, let me join the army go to war and take the risk of dying so the government can under pay me so they can keep paying for that pretty car to go in circles!!!

    February 17, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Micah

    I love members from both sides cutting EVERYTHING! This is EXACTLY what needs to happen, both parties need to cut EVERY frivolous waste of tax payer money. We are talking 1.5+ TRILLION in FAT that needs to be cut NOW.

    Why is anybody arguing about keeping NASCAR advertising funding for the military when we are that far in the hole???

    February 17, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. rich fifer

    Not only is the US military into Nascar...they sponsor autmobile drag racing and motorcycle drag racing. I cannot see how the Pentagon can afford to keep spending millions of taxpayer dollars on these type racing activities...why should the taxpayers be responsible to fund, (already wealthy individuals,) all this money... It is time for massive cuts in all kinds of spending...lets start with the programs that are absoulty unnecessary.

    February 17, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Charles

    Representative Betty's understanding of 18 year old males (and probably some females) motivation leaves much to be desired. Another idiot Democrat that needs to be voted out of office in 2012.

    February 17, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Benny t. Smith Jr

    My name is Benny Smith and it has come to my attention that congresswomen Betty McCollum has proposed an amendment that would ban the military from sponsoring within NASCAR. I am a member of a military family as well as a supporter of NASCAR. The congresswomen’s chief of staff’s comments “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 race track and that’s why they joined the Army” is of great alarm to me and any military family today. The Army does not just represent a soldier who fights wars, but the Army represents the families too. When my father signed up in 1987 to join the Army, my family was right along with him. NASCAR has done so much to make the sport of auto racing more family friendly and has done an amazing job.
    I have been working since the age of 12 with military families and military programs to make the lives of military family better. I took it upon myself to contact the National Military Families Association and make them aware of the amendment in question.
    The military sponsorship within NASCAR means so much more to me and my family then just a way for the army to get people to join. The ARMY sponsorship has given me and my dad someone to cheer for, no matter who is behind the wheel. It has touched many military service men and women positively and made the sport and military moral better. When the military started marketing within NASCAR, the public opinion of the military grew by 30% in a positive fashion. My dad had the opportunity to spend a day in uniform with the Army crew during a race in charlotte and it made the world to him.
    I have done some research of my own on the topic. The rep. feels that banning the military from sponsoring within NASCAR would save money, but that just means that the money will be used for other less productive marketing. The military spends about 11.7 million to sponsor the #39 army car, but this does not just mean a logo on the car. NASCAR is a unique sport/business that allows for companies to showcase their products on the spot in front of fans. No other sport offers this, and can touch the amount of exposure that the military is getting. Over 215 million fans watch NASCAR annually and over 75 million purchase products and attend the tracks. If you do the math, the military is spending less the 5 cents a person on advertising within NASCAR. This is an amazing source of exposure for the military with such a small cost per person.
    Rep. Betty McCollum and her staff are asking the wrong questions. They should not be asking how many people joined the military because of a logo on a car. Marketing is used to instill an idea, concept, or opinion in someone so that when they find themselves in a position to make a decision, they lean toward a particular product. The question she should be asking is “How many people have seen the ARMY logo?” If people are not seeing it, they are not thinking about it. People don’t join the ARMY because of a race car or because the army sponsors a high school football game (ARMY ALL-AMERICAN BOWL cost: 6 million). They join because its meets their needs. When I look at a product I ask myself three questions, what is the quality of the product? Does is meet my needs? And what are the benefits of the product? NASCAR allows for the ARMY to showcase this ever weekend. I can show you videos, pictures, and proof that the ARMY is getting tons of exposure for the small amount of money it spends on NASCAR sponsorship.
    I am reaching out to you to ask what I can do to make sure this amendment does not pass. I would like to work together with you to show that the army sponsorship means so much more then advertising It may just be a small issue among many issues today, but it is the little things that make the biggest difference.
    Thank you for your time, Rep Peterson, to read my letter. I hope that I will get to speak with you in person. I grew up with the belief that all it takes is one voice to make a difference and I am doing my part.

    Benny T. Smith Jr

    Tell your Congressperson you support the militarys involvement in motorsports http://fb.me/SYnMXkKH

    February 17, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      AMEN TO THAT!

      March 5, 2011 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  8. The Military is Preaching 2 the Choir at NASCAR events....

    NASCAR and other sports fans are the meat and potatoes of the military staffing. Without advertising, these people would join the military because it is a family tradition, because they felt it was their duty as a good citizen, or they need a job and training.

    Find a characteristically less patriotic group to recruit. They did a good job with the America's Army game. How about a Predator Drone on-line game where players compete to get a chance to smoke a living possible 'terrorist' while wearing pajamas and eating Doritos.

    Spend some money to restore the pre-Montgomery G.I. Bill. Make America's IQ grow.

    February 17, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bartman

    let us not forget, the US Military also understands NASCAR is broadcast to 129 countries around the globe, including every military operation happening.

    February 17, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Uncle Sam

    Dear Americans, if you are a fan of things like freedom, liberty, human rights, world peace, and education then stand up for what you believe in and send Rep. Betty McCollum a note of disgust. Her ignorant attempt to discuss recruitment marketing strategy is a disgrace to our country. Apparently she is even falling out of sync with her own party. The Obama administration just recently endorsed NASCAR in a joint partnership to enhance education through success in motorsports with international students. She needs to issue a retraction and formal apology and resign.

    February 17, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Leonard Brower

    Taking away military funding for nascar will not cure the problem. the military will just transfer the funds to another advertising program. You will have to cut the military advertising program to reduce funding.

    February 18, 2011 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. fiftyseven

    "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"

    I would challenge Coca Cola to show me one person who says they bought a bottle of Coke because they saw a commercial... even though Coke couldn't do it, we know marketing is effective.

    February 18, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  13. gr33nhouse

    People, military recruiting in these economic times are not in the least "hurting". there are people waiting up to a year to go to boot camp after they had already signed up for service, because finding a job now is so difficult. The US Navy, for example, is cutting manning as we speak. "We" spend, as taxpayers, $10million/year for sponsorships for recruiting, when there is not a problem trying to "replenish" the ranks. As a military veteran, and special operations operator, this is a waste and just another example in how our leaders and politicians show up to work and decide the fate of our country economically so carelessly. They have IGM syndrome..."I Got Mine". I don't care if the defense allotted monies have already been spent for the year. We should stop it so next year we'll have that $10million that we can put towards things our military really needs. We are heading down a wrong way street, or track, for that matter.

    June 5, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rodney Pool

    I and my family have supported and worked within nascar many years. What Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle have done in turning down an inventation to the White House is unspeakible! They have now brought pollitics to the sport and NASCAR in the most unamerican way! Their teams have taken hundereds of millions of our tax payer's dollars and now they insult the President of the United States. REALLY? Talk about bitting the hand that feeds you. I guess they want the liberial half of this country, to now stand against them and all of the other sponsors by stop buying their products that are now covered with political manure! Nascar's Attendance numbers are down and they want to make it a political rally instead of a sport. SHAME ON YOU nascar and your ignorate ways.
    Rod

    September 3, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
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    November 13, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
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