The US National Guard has spent $44 million on sponsorships in NASCAR and IndyCar this year, a particularly troubling figure in a time when every military expenditure is given careful scrutiny. That's prompted some members of Congress to question the usefulness of the motorsports partnerships.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, has been one of the most vocal critics of the guard's motorsports sponsorships, saying the part-time army wastes "a bunch of money on a very expensive sports sponsorship" that offers no conclusive benefits to recruitment figures. McCaskill's statements came back in May, and are now apparently being met with action, as the guard has officially terminated both its NASCAR and IndyCar sponsorships.

"Significantly constrained resources and the likelihood of further reductions in the future call for more innovative and cost-effective ways of doing business," Maj. Gen. Judd H. Lyons, the guard's acting director, said in a statement.

In May, a USA Today report found that the guard's NASCAR sponsorship led to 24,800 recruiting prospects in 2012, but that only 20 met the entry qualifications (that works out to 0.0008-percent eligibility). Of those 20, none signed on.

The guard currently sponsors drivers Graham Rahal and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in the IndyCar series and fan favorite Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Hendrick Motorsports, in the Sprint Cup.

RLL Racing co-owner Bobby Rahal said he was disappointed considering the "significant incremental brand exposure we have worked to produce for the National guard in our first season together, including various off-track marketing and advertising programs focused on supporting the mission set forth."

Hendrick Motorsports, meanwhile, pointed out that it has a contract with the guard through 2015. "We have not been approached by the guard about potential changes and plan to honor our current agreement," the team said in a statement obtained by Stars and Stripes.

Of course, the guard contradicted this, saying its agreements with teams from both sports is slated to "expire at the end of the current season." It's unlikely we've heard the last of this one.


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  • 31 Comments
      Lachmund
      • 4 Months Ago

      I think the NSA should be the new sponsor. -> (N)A(S)C(A)R

        EJ
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Lachmund

        The Logo will be painted with invisible ink.

      Trobbins88
      • 4 Months Ago

      Claire McCaskill can go bet bent.  When you are in the business of recruiting the best people in the world, a sponsorship like this will not directly translate into boots on the ground.  It is all about exposure.  When I took my 6 year old son to his first race earlier this year, he was in awe to see the Nat'l Guard soldiers there and see the car right next to it.  Their interactive displays are really cool for people of all ages.  The worth of exposure that Earnhardt Jr. is gaining for the Guard is many millions of dollars more than the money being spent.  I understand that money is tight, but this is more about appeasing the senators that make the most noise about something, possibly gaining votes in an election.  They are not going to save the $32m from this sponsorship or the $12m from the IRL spnsorship, it will be spent somewhere else, probably even more "wasteful," as McCaskill put it.

        Pj Taintz
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Trobbins88

        i personally know 3 people who signed up at nascar events and 1 at an indy event. this marketing DOES work

        as usual though, dems have no concept of reality

        Worx2749
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Trobbins88

        Sorry, but it's a complete waste of money, especially seeing as how the USA is spending more at the Pentagon than all other countries, combined. Maybe we can use the millions to pave a road?

          carnut0913
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Worx2749

          better than handing out welfare dollars like its candy and generating a 'give me' attitude that is killing our country.

          SetNick
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Worx2749

          Screw the roads...put the money into Education.

        Justin Campanale
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Trobbins88

        Yup, our infrastructure is  crumbling and our education system is an embarrassment, but who cares? Screw that! I want my taxpayer money going towards sponsoring illiterate rednecks to drive around in circles. MURICA **** YEAH!

          husam
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Justin Campanale

          downvoting this guy for telling the truth?!?


          all you inbreds who support the military paying millions to sponsor nascar, please answer these questions: why do you need to advertise to get someone to risk their life in defense of their country?  is that really a decision that gets swayed by watching Jr. drive around in circles!?

      churchmotor
      • 4 Months Ago

      Let me guess, Nancy Pelosi wants to funnel the money to Hamas.

      You know, as SHE called it in interview with Candy Crowley.  Hamas, a Humanitarian Organization.

        SloopJohnB
        • 4 Months Ago
        @churchmotor

        I'm no fan of Hamas, but they've done more for the Palestinians, humanitarian-wise, than the UN or PLO.

        See, that's why Hamas got elected in Gaza.

        Of course, Hamas also shipped in concrete and weapons to build tunnels and terrorize Israel.

        knightrider_6
        • 4 Months Ago
        @churchmotor

        No, this money would be better off in Mitt Romney's offshore accounts. Let's give him some more tax breaks.

        Justin Campanale
        • 4 Months Ago
        @churchmotor

        I see that you're cherry picking over here.Peloai was referring to the Qataris, who she said consider Hama's a humanitarian organization. If you had actually watched the video instead of parroing what Rush and Glenn tell you, you wouldn't be here looking like a dumbass.

        knightrider_6
        • 4 Months Ago
        @churchmotor
        They have Hamas. We have Tea Party and NRA.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 4 Months Ago

      24,800 recruiting prospects, and only 20 passed the qualifications. That does not speak well for NASCAR fans.

        Revis Goodworth
        • 4 Months Ago
        @icemilkcoffee

        I hear we are importing a "Dream" army - children who are already trained killers who will work for low wages.    They are also physically fit after making a 45 day trek from their homeland which they don't care to save and will work for false promises.   

          SloopJohnB
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Revis Goodworth

          Not a bad idea.  Raise them 'right' and we'll have an all-volunteer mercenary army.  Oh, right, we already have one of those.


      scott3
      • 4 Months Ago


      Leave it to the government to dump the points leading team with an Earnhardt driving in a Championship Run.

       

      The media exposure can not be measured by who signs up at the race as their name is going to be on everything everywhere.

      They are in a marketing mangers dream position and yet they are on the verge to tossing it away.

      No wonder nothing gets done in DC.

        Darren McLellan
        • 4 Months Ago
        @scott3

        So, you're okay with handing millions of tax dollars to people who are already millionaires? You're okay with NO evidence of any GAIN from the investment?

        No wonder the same idiots in DC get reelected.

      vegasstyleguy
      • 4 Months Ago

      Wow, so for all of their wrapping themselves in the flag while hating the president, the NASCAR yahoos can't even qualify to join up? Interesting. This is what happens when you same types vote for a party that rapes schools to build prisons and not give a darn about really educating Americans.

      delsolo1
      • 4 Months Ago

      My tax dollars should not he used to subsidies redneck sports in the south

      socarboy
      • 4 Months Ago

      Seeing that small 3M decal on the front fender, Rick Hendrick might want to pluck the big one off of Greg Biffle's Jack Roush owned racer to replace The National Guard sponsorship loss.


      KirkusMcGurcus
      • 4 Months Ago

      What's next ??? Ground the Blue Angles and Thunderbirds.

      richard
      • 4 Months Ago

      We are coming off one of the worst recessions in 30 years.  Millenials can't find a job and recruiters offices are swamped .. Don't need to spend buku dollars to advertise.  Spend it on Veterans care, where it is sorely needed !!! 

      Making11s
      • 4 Months Ago

      They'd reach a better recruiting pool for less money by sponsoring an MLS team.

      That said, I actually had no problem with this advertising, and I don't see any indication that they're cutting spending, just that they're not advertising with NASCAR and IRL anymore.

      Skicat
      • 4 Months Ago

      I've in automotive marketing for 30+ years and have dealt with NASCAR. They are pickpockets of the first order. I wonder how much Pennzoil and other major sponsors pay to be a major sponsor of NASCAR and Indy teams. I guarantee you it isn't the kind of money the National Guard forked over. DoD is none too savvy about negotiating, considering the $600 toilet seat and $300 hammer are alive and well. Also, these kinds of sponsorships are far more beneficial to low-consideration/impulse products (beer, cereal, motor oil, candy) than to major life decisions like whether or not to join the military. The results bear that out. The businesses that see little benefit from racing sponsorship are usually run by owners who are enthusiasts and want to be part of "the scene." While it may not be good business, it's their money.

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