Tags: National Guard | NASCAR | sponsorships | Earnhardt

National Guard Pulls $44 Million in NASCAR and Indy Sponsorships

Image: National Guard Pulls $44 Million in NASCAR and Indy Sponsorships
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 08 Aug 2014 07:27 AM

The National Guard has announced it will end its $32 million sponsorship deal with NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. and a $12 million one with Indy Racing League driver Graham Rahal, The Hill reports.

Minnesota Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat who has been trying for years to end the pricey sponsorships that fall under the Guard’s marketing umbrella, hailed the announcement as victory.

"Canceling this NASCAR racing team contract is a victory for taxpayers, and I’m pleased to say the National Guard has finally made the correct decision," McCollum said in a statement. "Paying one race car driver $32 million in taxpayer funds year after year to put a logo on [Earnhardt Jr.’s] car has been a complete waste of tax dollars."

McCollum also noted that the Pentagon has never been able to verify a single recruitment borne out of its sports marketing sponsorships, which according to the congresswoman total more than $1 billion on fishing, wrestling, and motocross, in addition to car racing, The Hill reported.

USA Today reported that acting National Guard Director Maj. Gen. Judd H. Lyons said  "significantly constrained resources and the likelihood of further reductions in the future call for more innovative and cost-effective ways of doing business."

Marine Corps veteran Dakota Meyer, a NASCAR fan and a sniper who received the Medal of Honor for rescuing 12 wounded soldiers and providing cover for the escape of two dozen more in the 2009 Battle of Ganjgal during a fight with the Taliban, told NASCAR.com that the sponsorship money deserved to be cut.

"It's insane for anyone to consider putting that much money into an outside organization when I don't even have the correct gear that I need over there," he said. "These drivers should be so grateful for what this country does that they should want to do this on their own."

The Army, Navy, and Marine Corps have also cut their NASCAR sponsorships in recent years, according to The Hill.

In a statement, Army Guard marketing chief Lt. Col. Christian Johnson said the motorsports partnerships — intended to "build awareness of the National Guard as a career option — "played an important role in helping the National Guard build strong brand awareness and in turn helped us achieve extraordinary recruiting and end-strength objectives over the past decade."

Sponsoring Earnhardt "allowed the National Guard to leverage a 77 million fan base and the sport's most popular driver."

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The National Guard has announced it will end its $32 million sponsorship deal with NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. and a $12 million one with Indy Racing League driver Graham Rahal, The Hill reports.
National Guard, NASCAR, sponsorships, Earnhardt
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2014-27-08
Friday, 08 Aug 2014 07:27 AM
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