The House voted 241-148 to throw out a measure to ban the Pentagon from sponsoring stock car teams – which means that there’s nothing to prevent the Army, the Air Force and the National Guard NASCAR racing teams to participate again this year.
Rep. Betty McCollum (D., Minn.) introduced the measure as an amendment to the House’s spending bill for the rest of fiscal year 2011, which ends Sept. 30. Ms. McCollum asserts that the spending on NASCAR teams doesn’t add to military readiness.
The Army, which spends $7 million a year on its NASCAR team, considers it to be a useful recruiting tool. Col. Derik Crotts, director of the Army’s sponsorship, told Washington Wire that the Army picked up 46,000 recruiting leads in 2010 through its racing team. In 2000, the Congress even directed the Army to explore motor sports sponsorships as a recruiting tool.
Sometime in the last decade, each branch of the military had a partnership with NASCAR racing. In 2006, the Marines cut their racing team because it had a smaller ad budget and since it can’t be determined for sure if it really boosted recruiting. Currently, only the Army, the National Guard and the Air Force still sponsor race cars. [via WSJ]