Democratic Minnesota Rep. Betty McCollum, who has spent months trying to eliminate military sponsorship of NASCAR, is expected to introduce an amendment to next year’s Pentagon appropriations bill that would reduce money going to advertising for motor sports, fishing, wrestling and ultimate-fighting events.
According to a late 2010 Simmons National Consumer Survey, NASCAR fans are more than 1.5 times more likely to serve or have served in the armed forces as non-fans. Indeed, more than one in four service members are NASCAR fans. Military members are more likely than those who are not and have not been military service members to be fans
“We know this is having an impact on recruiting and helping our recruiters with their jobs,” Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley said. “The alternative to this is having a recruiter walking up and down a mall and talking to about 150 people just to get one person to engage them. That is what we used to have to do. … We have a great and, in my mind, treasured relationship with NASCAR because it gives us a great venue to tell our story as soldiers where people are receptive to it.”
Nevertheless, according to McCollum’s office, while the Army spent $7 million dollars on NASCAR and $5 million sponsoring drag racing in 2011 the effort has not succeeded in recruiting new servicemen. She argues that spending money on NASCAR sponsorships is foolish at a time when the country is looking for ways to save.