U.S. Army To Sponsor Second NASCAR Team, Support Drive For Diversity Program
The U.S. Army “will sponsor another motorsports team, reaffirming its need to spend public money in auto racing" even after U.S. Rep Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) “challenged that notion earlier this year,” according to Dustin Long of the ROANOKE TIMES. The U.S. Army will sponsor Revolution Racing, which is “comprised of drivers in the Drive for Diversity program.” Army Lt. General Benjamin Freakley said that the military unit is “paying $215,000 to sponsor the team.” Freakley said, “People don't know about the military. Most of it is, they're not unpatriotic or anything like that, they just don't know. … What better platform than motorsports. America comes to motorsports. They come to NASCAR; they watch NASCAR.” The U.S. Army, National Guard and Air Force “will spend about $30 million combined to sponsor Sprint Cup teams this season.” McCollum “sponsored an amendment in February that targeted military sponsorship of NASCAR teams” (ROANOKE TIMES, 5/1).
TIMES ARE A CHANGIN': In Richmond, Paul Woody wrote, "Nothing about NASCAR is inexpensive.” Drivers “want big contracts, every team needs a primary car and a backup car, and just getting a hauler from one track to the next runs into some cash.” NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer said, "It's very challenging for every race team. NASCAR hasn't been on easy street, but it has been pretty easy to come by sponsors over the years.” Roush Fenway Racing President Steve Newmark said, "It's different from the heyday, from where we were four, five, six years ago. The economic downturn has been severe, and it hit NASCAR harder than a lot of sports. But we have seen increased activity from potential sponsors over the past year, a lot more meetings and discussions. That's a positive sign." He added, "The sales cycle is clearly longer than it has been before. That's not necessarily a bad thing. All the parties are taking a different approach to make sure the deal is structured the right way to achieve a particular partner's objective. And we're not seeing one sponsor who wants to take the entire year" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 4/30).