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NASCAR may look harder at sponsorship process

Apr 12, 2013, 10:08 PM EDT

O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 Getty Images

NASCAR appears open to applying more scrutiny to potential sponsors as the Sprint Cup Series prepares to run tomorrow night at Texas Motor Speedway in a race backed by the National Rifle Association.

While NASCAR has chosen to take no position on gun rights, spokesman David Higdon acknowledged on Friday that a closer look at sponsorship approval is needed.

“The NRA’s sponsorship of the event at Texas Motor Speedway fit within existing parameters that NASCAR affords tracks in securing partnerships,” Higdon said according to the Associated Press. “However, this situation has made it clear that we need to take a closer look at our approval process moving forward, as current circumstances need to be factored in when making decisions.”

Before signing on as a sponsor of tomorrow’s 500-mile race at TMS — dubbed the “NRA 500″ — the organization sponsored the Nationwide Series’ “NRA American Warrior 300″ last September at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

But with American lawmakers currently in the midst of a debate over gun rights following last December’s massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, tomorrow’s event has drawn added attention and criticism. One of those critics, Sen. Chris Murphy (D – Conn.), has gone as far as writing a letter to News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch that asks him not to air the race on his Fox network.

But TMS president/general manager Eddie Gossage said on Thursday that he himself hasn’t seen “even a tiny uproar” about his track’s pact with the NRA.

“As far as this senator, I appreciate personally a publicity effort,” Gossage said according to The Dallas Morning News’ Gerry Fraley. “That’s two times [Murphy] has bit at this apple and gotten himself some publicity both times.”

  1. manchestermiracle - Apr 13, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    “(W)e need to take a closer look at our approval process moving forward, as current circumstances need to be factored in when making decisions.”

    Which means: If we lose more viewers than the money from the NRA can make up for we must drop them. NASCAR is much more concerned about the almighty dollar than what allowing the NRA to sponsor a race says about their values.

    On the other hand I’d be onboard if an NRA-sponsored race meant the drivers could carry and use a gun while driving. After all, isn’t that how NASCAR got started in the first place? Return to your roots!

    • chaparral2f - Apr 13, 2013 at 4:34 PM

      Since when did NASCAR get started with guns? Just because there were some moonshiners in the mix back in the early days does not mean that the drivers were thugs using guns. Kind of a mindless comment if you ask me. And, it smacks of bigotry as well. [This coming from a dam_ Yankee from the frozen north].

  2. chaparral2f - Apr 13, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    This sets a bad precedent. If guns are up for discussion because of NRA sponsorship, then how about alcohol, which causes more deaths every year than guns do. [As an aside, I do not own a gun, nor am I an NRA member. Nor do I consume any alcohol, so I have no dog in this fight]. NASCAR would be smart to keep politics out of this discussion.

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