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. HarryB

    Ms McCollum has no problem spending $10M a year on her projects

    http://www.legistorm.com/earmarks/details/member/358/Rep_Betty_McCollum_MN.html

    February 16, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. AGeek

    To those looking at this as a "cost savings", allow me to give you context...

    $10M on a $820000M budget. Let 's say you're at the grocery store. At $0.49/lb for bananas, you'd need to buy 40,180 pounds – or over 20 TONS – of bananas to save ONE PENNY ...ON THE TOTAL!!

    February 16, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  3. Adam

    End all military advertisements, not just NASCAR. Enough propaganda, anyone who is willing and able to serve will enlist, they don't need their favorite redneck driving a car with an Army decal to make up their minds. Even here in NY I see military related decals on cars everyday, isn't that enough? This money can go to plenty of other causes that are 100% more appropriate (I don't need to list all of them). And for everyone complaining for Congressmen and women to cut their salaries and benefits, guess who votes on that, THEY DO!!

    February 16, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. fastrack

    Ms. McCollum is granstanding. Better she should move to have the entire Pentagon advertising budget stricken. The money comes from MARKETING/ADVERTISING, is spent on attracting their target audience. If we don't see U.S. Army and National Guard on the side of race cars, we'll see it somewhere else. I agree w/Protector: there is no reason for any government agency to advertise...the post office should end the commercials and instead put that money toward making up their own deficit in other areas.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. Nascar Fan & Veteran

    @Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    And so do a majority of military members.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  6. Adam

    Yep, your eloquent response really changes people's perceptions of redneck NASCAR fans.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      Adam,

      Just because somone is a NASCAR fan does not mean they are rednecks!

      NASCAR has become the hottest professional sport in the United States, and is second only to the National Football League in terms of television ratings. Much of the growth in this popularity is attributed to the heavy connection with corporate America and the sports national television exposure. NASCAR fans are considered to be the most brand-loyal in all of sports, and spend over $2 billion in annual licensed product sales. As a result, corporate America has turned the drivers into walking billboards, and plastered their faces on thousands of products.

      NASCAR claims 75 million fans, a 19 percent jump in the last decade.

      NASCAR has the reputation of being a southern, white redneck sport, but this conception is largely misleading. According to NASCAR, its fan demographics closely parallel national averages.

      African-Americans make up 10 percent of NASCAR fans, as opposed to 11.7 percent of NFL fans. This percentage has jumped dramatically in recent years, up 86 percent since 1999.

      Forty percent of NASCAR fans are female, and the number is growing.

      And most surprising is the even geographic distribution of NASCAR fans. Twenty percent of NASCAR fans live in the northeast, which is equal to the percentage of the U.S. population that lives in the northeast. The South accounts for 38 percent of NASCAR fans, and 35 percent of the U.S. population.

      February 17, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Steve

    I have to agree, the army/nascar team is pretty important. It garners them the kind of recruits that are "patriotic" in a special way. They would do anything, go anywhere, kill anyone, as long as someone told them to do it...for these types of people there is no such thing as an unlawful order. I saw enough of these kids that joined when I was in, no real capability for reason or rational, logical thought due to just really poor education and we all know the south (read: most nascar fans are in the south) is not necessarilly known for their stellar education, not to mention a lot of them were there because the courts had given them the choice of that or jail, hmmmm......

    A lot of the responses on here from what I hope arent military personnel, are poorly worded, hard to understand, highly offensive and lack any understanding of format in the english language....and these are the people they want to sign up.

    The only thing you have to keep in mind when referencing the military and their soldiers is that the military doesnt care about their soldiers and truly neither does the government (current budget being proposed guts care for our homecoming soldiers), you are property to be used at their discretion, nothing more than a tool to be issued on the battlefield and discarded when you are no longer valuable to them.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. sceen2011

    this seems like a no-brainer to me. Saying Nascar fans are they type of people who serve is stereotyping to a large degree. I know multiple ex army and marine veterans and and I think 1 out of about 10 of them might watch Nascar. Take the money and give it to the soldiers overseas I'm sure that will bost morale more than watching a car drive in circles.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. unknown11

    Personally I think that all public funding of professional sports should be made illegal. Professional sports make money, so why are they spending my money on their stadiums etc.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. NoGOP12

    Don't forget, they sponsor NHRA also. Does anyone join the service because of any form of advertisement? I guess our government doesn't realize that people join the service because they want to serve their country. It's just another way to waste billions. They'll cut spending on something that would actually help somebody though. Bring our troops home and pay them to secure OUR borders for once.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • AGeek

      "waste billions". Nice hyperbole. You didn't read the article, otherwise you'd see where this is $10M. ..on a military budget of $820000M.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. Chris johnson

    Well obviously this dummy has never been to a race.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. Steve

    Wow, fan...ignorant, offensive, and stupid...you really hit the trifecta.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  13. Tony

    Shouldn't someone with a knowledge of advertising be making this decision? Maybe this sponsorship has made a big difference in recruitment and we just don't have all the information to appreciate it. I do know the military spends a lot on advertisements during other sporting events. And while I could say that I'm sure nobody joined the army because they saw a commercial, its the same strategy used by colleges and that seems to work for them.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. Nascar Fan

    One, I take issue with all the NASCAR fan stereotyping. I'm a 29 yr old female attorney, live in the Midwest and I love NASCAR. I'm not a redneck Southern man with a white tank top that beats my wife and drinks beer all day. Grow up.

    Two, the military sponsorship of NASCAR isn't a waste of money. If you watch the races, teams often bring in military members and let them hang out with the teams they sponsor. Most, if not all of those people, really enjoy that opportunity. It's positive advertisement for the armed forces and a nice perk for those military members who get to attend. That's a pretty small price to pay for some good exposure and a nice perk for those who serve our country.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • SCVipermad

      I completely agree...though I do use "redneck" a bit tongue-in-cheek a bit. 🙂

      SUPPORT OUR TROOPS OR GET OUT OF OUR COUNTRY! Simple as that Ms. Betty! I challenge HER to propose this IN PERSON, in front of those very troops the NASCAR activities (and ANY OTHER activity that involves the MORALE, WELFARE and RECREATION of our troops.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  15. SCVipermad

    This is not about NEW recruits alone. It is also about MORALE booster, RETENTION, etc. $100 million over TEN YEARS????? CongressPeople spend more than that taking a leak!!! I hope she stays NORTH of MAINE....else someone might beat her with a redneck stick!

    Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minnesota does not support the military or our troops!!!!! Get rid of her!!!!

    February 16, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
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