On Wednesday night the House took the vote to end all sponsorships from the military in NASCAR. The proposed ban would of disallowed the military to use sports such as NASCAR as a recruiting tool. After last weeks shocking news that the Army was going to back out of NASCAR all together in 2013, which leaves driver Ryan Newman without full time sponsorship, fans took to Twitter in outrage at the proposers of the amendment Jack Kingston (R-GA) and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.).
The vote initially failed a voice vote, but Rep. McCollum forced a recorded vote. The vote failed by only 14 votes at 216-202.
Monday, all four major spots leagues and NASCAR sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), asking him to ensure the bill amendment was not adopted. The amendment was part of a larger $608 billion Department of Defense appropriations bill for 2013.
If the vote would of passed, one of the most popular drivers in the sport Dale Earnhardt Jr. would of found himself without sponsorship. Kingston quoted published figures saying the the military spent 26.5 million to back Earnhardt Jr’s. car in 2010 but that the money did not propose any recruits. He also claimed that the NASCAR audience aren’t an ideal target of military recruitment, because 69 percent of the sport’s fan base is over the age for enlistment.
Rep McHenry (R-NC) said that the National Guard saw over a 300% return on its investment of media and clothing sales were accounted for. It’s not a surprise that Rep. McHenry stood against the amendment, his district includes the Mooresville, NC area where most of the NASCAR operations are ran from.
“This is a huge return for the buck,” he said. “This is why Fortune 500 companies actually advertise through NASCAR. Not because it feels good, but because it delivers results. And the fact is, no matter the size of the military, you’re still going to need recruits.”
McHenry also called it inappropriate for Congress to get involved in where the military spends its recruiting dollars. “Let’s face it,” he said. “When we start micromanaging advertising programs to try to recruit National Guard members, we’ve sort of slipped into the absurd.”
Rep. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.), whose district includes Concord and Rockingham, said of the National Guard’s connection to Earnhardt. “The most popular driver in NASCAR drives the National Guard car,”. “We don’t need to strike that relationship. We need to build on that.”
NASCAR is safe for this year, but the vote has inched closer each year and we know that the amendment will be back in front of the House in 2013.