The National Guard's $26.5M sponsorship includes 16 races for Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The National Guard said that it has "no plans to drop its sponsorship" of NASCAR, according to Bob Pockrass of SPORTING NEWS. The National Guard "has budgeted to spend $26.5 million on its NASCAR program this year." That will "sponsor 16 races for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Hendrick Motorsports as well as cover its displays, hospitality and other racing-related marketing and advertising." This comes after the Army on Tuesday announced it is withdrawing its sponsorship of Stewart-Haas Racing
after the '12 NASCAR season. U.S. Reps Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and Jack Kingston (D-Ga.) "sponsored an amendment to the 2013 defense appropriations bill to block military divisions from sponsoring race teams." National Guard President Gus Hargett Jr. said in a statement, "Recruiting for our all-volunteer force isn't what it used to be. ... Television advertising no longer carries the payoff it once did. Today, you have to know how smart, fit young people think, where they live and play, and go to them." The National Guard has "been aligned with the sport's most popular driver since 2008 and does generate some revenue back from merchandise sales." Hargett said, "We applaud lawmakers ... for asking tough questions about how and where scarce defense dollars are spent. But we believe military marketing experts should evaluate return on investment and determine without restriction where best to put increasingly scarce recruiting dollars" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 7/12