• Feb 18, 2011
Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum is a Democrat looking at areas where the budget can be cut. Her current target is military spending. More specifically, she is focused on banning the military from spending money advertising in NASCAR. She introduced a measure to this effect, and it was shot down by a vote of 241-148.

The US Army spent $7 million in 2010 to sponsor a car in NASCAR and has a signed contract with Stewart-Haas racing to put its logo on a car for 2011. In contrast, the Marines, Navy and Coast Guard all ended NASCAR sponsorships back in 2006.

McCollum feels that spending money in this arena is an inappropriate use of military funds. Ramsey Poston, NASCAR's Managing Director for Corporate Communications, sees things a little differently. According to 2009 data gathered by Experian, one in five NASCAR fans have served in the military, while one in three active service members are fans of the sport. Also, the Army states that it received 46,000 recruiting leads in 2010 thanks to the racing team.

And so, we ask you: Should the United States Army sponsor a NASCAR team?



[Source: The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Inside Line | Image: John Harrelson/Getty]


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  • 60 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Army should start up the draft.
      Then maybe you in 20 years time wouldn`t be working with middle aged cry babies, making 20 dollars an hour bitching about being asked to paint a wall.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is a no-brainer. There is absolutely no reason to be wasting taxpayer money like this. That $7 million could go toward any number of things, like better training or equipment for the troops, for example. Also, recruitment might not be such a huge problem if we weren't currently mired in two pointless wars.
        • 3 Years Ago
        This is recruitment budget, the same budget that brought us a video game (America's Army) commercials and bus benches. The same thinking behind the Blue Angels, Thuderbirds, Golden Knights and other demonstration teams...the amount of money doing any of these other things probably has no where near the direct return on investment of a Nascar sponsorship.

        I am not personally a Nascar fan but as a former Marine I know how hard recruiters work to get even 1 kid to come through the door and if this got them 40,000 leads then its a bargain ($150 a lead is a laughably small price to pay). If Congresswomen McCollum were serious about budget cuts she could look at countless overdue military contracts, failed weapon systems, Inefficiencies in staffing and a number of other ways to streamline the Pentagon. But instead she is going to grand stand and attack a polarizing expenditure.

        Would be nice if the congress critters could stop the grandstanding and start tackling the issues that will actually fix the budget ...not just get them name recognition for a run at the White House.

        • 3 Years Ago
        How can the talk be anything but political? The post IS political!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Does this mean we get free tickets to the event since between the automakers, sponsorship, and bank bailouts?? We should at least get one of them to loan something back to us....
      • 3 Years Ago
      How do you differentiate the expenditure for the nascar ads and the tv ads. I would guess that the tv ads are considerably more expensive, with the cost of making the ad and then placing it in different spots on tv. The purpose of either is to seek new enlistments, but because of the audience at nascar, the added advantage to the nascar ads is, in a small way, the honoring past and present veterans. I personally would prefer the expenditure of $7 million on nascar sponsorship then the production of more bullets.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why would anyone want to join an army that has never, ever won a war anyway? Afganistan? Never going to happen. Iraq? nope. VietNam? Nope . Korea? Nope .WWII? Nope -that was the Russians mainly and every other Allied country. In fact America was late entering because jerks like Henry Ford were selling materials to both sides and had a particularly sunny spot for the "Final Solution". WWI? nope - see WWII above . If you want to count Granada and Panama as wins , well..

      Why would you need to advertise at all if it wasn't just a bunch of violent blue collar halfwits and psychopaths that are in uniform...? Maybe if they won once in a while... They wouldn't even exist if they didn't keep so many people in wealth supplying them.

      $7 million is nowhere near the budget for one of those boring Nascar things. More like $40- that is what Home Depot gave Stewart when he ran I can't imagine it is any cheaper. More bs from Wahington
        • 3 Years Ago
        People might actually think better of you if you actually had some facts...

        of America's wars:

        1) The War of Independence was obviously a loss
        2) The War of 1812 was technically a tie (nothing changed) fought against the world's superpower (England) which ended with a huge American Army victory at New Orleans
        3) The Mexican-American War was obviously a loss because we gained Texas and California
        4) The Spanish-American War was obviously a loss because we gained the Phillipines and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
        5) Technically, the US Army "won" the Civil War, but that also means an American Army lost.
        6) World War I was a stalemate until the US joined - whether or not we needed to is still debatable
        7) of World War II, the Russians joined the Pacific theater in August 1945... when it was pretty much over. And of the Western European theater, the US Army was the largest contingent on the field.
        8) Korea is still technically going, so it's a tie.
        9) Vietnam was a political loss, not a military one.
        10) The 1991 Gulf War must have been a loss, because the Army took 100 hours to destroy the Iraqi ground forces.

        As for the others - before you say the Army never won a war, I'd look around the United States to see if we have any foreign military bases here. As far as I know, I don't see any.

        And seriously, argue all you want about the politics of what we DO with the military, but to say that they are all "violent blue collar halfwits and psychopaths" just makes you look silly at best (and perhaps stupidly elitist).
        • 3 Years Ago
        Henry Ford a jerk. I can understand that - but educate yourself.

        He was a isolationist as were most other Republicans up until 1940. There was a movement to impeach DFR with Lend Lease. Ford some what got screwed after WW1 with the Liberty engine as did Henry Leyland.

        Ford was being denied the high profit stuff in late 30s and 1940 all going to GM by the war department. By late 1940 Hitler was better understood to be be the threat he was. People like Henry Ford and Charles Lindberg did a 180.

        Point is Ford was the number three producer of war goods in WWII. Never would have won the war without them. Study Willow Run. Ford Marketing was less than GMs . Their strength was mass production.

        Our ability to produce as a nation in that time is how we won the war.

        The B24 went farther faster carried more than any other plane. It was the highest production plane of WWII Ford producing more than half of them. Then Jeeps over half multiple engines the 1100cid SOHC tank engine and much more .

        A populist and built his wealth on it . He Made stuff . Contraversial absolutley
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yet they cut funding for PBS. If that doesn't deserve funding, neither does this.
      HotRodzNKustoms
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wonder what percentage of those leads actually enlist. If you look at it from the purely measurable economic effect $152 a lead seems a bit steep but a program like this is so much more than that. Overall it strikes me as a decent investment.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @HotRodzNKustoms
        @Frankie, the USAF money goes to the Thunderbirds. It's pretty much the same deal. PR/marketing. Blue Angels, color guards, parades, booths at the fair, etc. It's all there to raise awareness, put a friendly face on, glorify, and recruit for the armed forces. I have no problem with it. If you are willing to give the armed forces a marketing budget, stay the hell out of the way they use that money as long as it's reasonable. There's a strong argument to be made for NASCAR sponsorship as a marketing tool so it's far from a stretch. This smacks of the no-fun police, frankly.

        And, FWIW, I don't watch NASCAR (I watch F1).
        • 3 Years Ago
        @HotRodzNKustoms
        @Z28

        Thunderbirds money comes out of normal Air Force flight hour allocations as does all flying AMU's. A mere 1 to 2 percent come out of marketing. That marketing money is for posters, souvenirs and do-dads for kids and businesses to have as momentos'.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm not a fan of NASCAR at all, but I think things like this are good recruitment tools, so its not a waste of money.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I would love to see Congresswoman McCollum use that finely calibrated sense of fiscal propriety on entitlement spending and labor unions.
      • 3 Years Ago
      can't help but notice how disliked NASCAR is among autobloggers
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm shocked how many people on Autoblog are defending NASCAR. NASCAR is such a joke, and embarrassment for the USA.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm not buying the spiel of the first commenters talking about how expensive an advertising campaign can be. Commercials spent at the regional level (local TV stations and their DTV subchannels, and cable companies) can be pretty cheap at 'run of schedule' pricing. That along with online ad platforms, you can make $7 million go farther than you think.

      I actually don't believe the NASCAR sponsorship is *that* wasteful or personally appalling, but it's obviously not a necessity get the word out. For all of the right-wing fervor in taking public money away from NPR & PBS, those politicos and partisans had better be for cutting largely symbolic spending like this--or else they're precisely the BS artists voters from either side of the aisle think they are.
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