U.S. Army Will Drop NASCAR Sports Sponsorship

Jul 12, 2012 11:14 AM EDT | Brice Smith

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The U.S. Army is dropping its sponsorship with NASCAR. 

The ending of the military's sport sponsorship has been led by Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., who tried in 2011 to end the military sponsorship programs before her amendment was defeated.

"This program was not effective," she told The Detroit Free Press. "By eliminating a wasteful program, they're protecting taxpayer dollars and they can refocus those dollars on recruiting efforts that bring in well-qualified recruits to keep our Army strong.

"The Army now joins the Navy and the Marine Corps in pulling out of NASCAR as far as sponsorships go. Now I'd like to see, as they haven't been able to show us any numbers that any of these sports sponsorships work, that we bring an end to the sports sponsorships." 

Through an official army statement, John Myers director, marketing support element, Army marketing and Research Group said the real reason behind backing out from its NASCAR sponsorship was based on numbers. 

"The bottom line is the return on investment has got to make enough sense...And the decision was made in the case of NASCAR that we could invest those resources into other things that would have a higher marketing pay off for us." Myers said.

Myers said the army will spend $8.4 million on its NASCAR program for this season despite the protest in the House of Representatives.

Despite continued calls for ending its NASCAR sponsorship, the Army intends to continue sponsoring Tony Schumacher's NHRA drag-racing team and its sponsorship of the All-American Bowl football game. 

National Guard officials will hold a series of talks to determine if it will continue its sponsorship of with Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s team.  

 "We think a lot of the NASCAR effort may be misunderstood. People generally have to hear a message 13 times before it sinks in,"  said Retired Col. Pete Duffy of the lobbyist group for the National Guard. "You want to keep hitting, keep hitting, and keep hitting. And when you have Dale Earnhardt winning a race as he did (June 17 at Michigan International Speedway) - with the National Guard symbol on the car - that's something we're just not going to able to build nationally."

According to The Detroit Free Press, even if the amendment is killed, the National Guard will likely have less money to work with next year, which means Earnhardt's No. 88 team with Hendrick Motorsports could be impacted. 

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