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Minnesota Congresswoman wants to ban military from NASCAR sponsorships UPDATE #2 The U.S. Army, which represents Ryan Newman and his No. 39 car, defended its NASCAR sponsorship on Friday after a Minnesota congresswoman recently targeted the Army's motorsports funding as a waste of money.  Lieutenant General Benjamin Freakley said the $7.4 million per year the Army is spending to sponsor NASCAR is being put to good use, as he estimates 46,000 leads have come directly from NASCAR and the environment gives recruiters a great way to reach young people.

"We know this is having an impact on recruiting and helping our recruiters with their jobs," Freakley said Friday. "The alternative to this is having a recruiter walk up and down a mall and talking to about 150 people just to get one person to engage them."

Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., scrutinized NASCAR's effect on Army recruiting and felt the money could be better spent elsewhere.

McCollum's attempts at ending the Pentagon's NASCAR sponsorship was unsuccessful, however, as lawmakers voted 281-148 in favor of letting the sponsorships continue on Friday.

The Marines, Navy and Coast Guard dropped their NASCAR sponsorships in 2006 — but Freakley still sees NASCAR as a crucial recruiting ground.

"This is sort of America's sport, and the United States Army is America's team," Freakley said. "I have to invest in awareness. In some venue or another, I have to make some form of investment to make the American people aware of their army. And this is what we think is a good investment." Orlando Sentinel

02/18/11 Congresswoman Betty McCollum's amendment to ban military sponsorship of NASCAR teams suffered a defeat Friday night but she is pressing forward with the amendment. After a brief period of debate on the amendment, which McCollum introduced Monday, a voice vote was held with the no votes prevailing. McCollum (D-Minn.), however, "demanded a recorded vote and the Chair postponed further proceedings on the question of adoption of the amendment until a time to be announced,'' according to the website for the Office of the Cleak for the U.S. House of Representatives. So, the matter is not dead. In essence, she wants everyone's vote to be recorded publicly instead of hidden behind a voice vote. Virginian Pilot

02/16/11 Rep. Betty McCollum wants to put the brakes on the Defense Department's 10-year sponsorship deal with NASCAR racing teams, saying the multimillion-dollar recruiting effort is a waste of money. The Minnesota Democrat is also dubious that stock car sponsorship has much to do with enlistment numbers or troop readiness. "This is not only putting a sticker on the car. This is paying for a racing team," Ms. McCollum's chief of staff, Bill Harper, told Washington Wire. "That doesn't contribute to military readiness." The amendment is one of more than 400 that lawmakers want attached to Rep. Paul Ryan's spending bill to fund the government through Sept. 30. Ms. McCollum's office estimates the Pentagon has spent more than $100 million on its own NASCAR teams. Col. Derik Crotts, director of the army's sponsorship, told Washington Wire in an email that the Army spends $7 million a year on its racing team, and finds it valuable. "Youth surveys show that motorsports is a passion point for young Americans," wrote Col. Crotts. "It is critical that the Army use these passion points to communicate with prospects and their influencers." He continued, "In a 2009 among nationwide fans, 37% feel more positive about the Army due to its involvement in motorsports." Wall Street Journal
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