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McCollum targets military's NASCAR sponsorships

Posted by: under 4th District Updated: February 15, 2011 - 3:35 PM

As the Republican-controlled House looks for areas to cut spending, Rep. Betty McCollum has proposed eliminating funding for the military to advertise with NASCAR.

McCollum’s push to end military NASCAR advertising is one of about 400 amendments proposed in the House’s bill to fund the government through Sept. 30. The bill, being debated this week, was opened for any member of Congress to file amendments.

“We don’t believe taxpayer dollars should be going to pay for race-car teams,” said McCollum’s Chief of Staff Bill Harper, calling the advertising a “waste of money.”

McCollum’s office said the military has spent more than $100 million over the past decade since it began sponsoring NASCAR.

Three NASCAR cars are sponsored by the military: The National Guard is a sponsor for Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the Army sponsors Ryan Newman.

Military officials have said that NASCAR advertising is used as a recruiting tool, and a NASCAR spokesman told the Virginian-Pilot Tuesday that NASCAR research finds one in three veterans is a fan.

But Harper said that advertising with NASCAR won’t lead to more people enlisting.

“There may not be one person in Iraq or Afghanistan who is there because they saw a race car,” Harper said.

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