After all of the criticism which the National Riffle Association, otherwise known as the N.R.A., has been receiving over the past few months, the company has opted to sponsor a NASCAR race. This may be crossing an uncharted territory for NASCAR.
As NASCAR continues to grow after one of the most-viewed Daytona 500’s in the sport’s history, they may have just lost a few thousand viewers because of this move. Hopefully it won’t be too drastic, but it can cause the sport to receive criticism in of itself.
Most NASCAR fans are gun owners, after all, they’re mostly rednecks. However, there is an immense part of NASCAR nation that doesn’t own guns and is probably irritated by this move. NASCAR has to approve any title sponsorship for a race, so why approve the N.R.A. of all companies? Well, maybe it has to do with trying to keep up with Eddie Gossage and the southern style atmosphere his track will be presenting come April.
The Texas Motor Speedway will be implementing a new grandstand policy this year. Smoking will not be enabled within the proximity of the grandstands. That’s definitely a step in the right direction. However, the tradition of shooting two guns in the air after winning the pole and the race, that isn’t going away any time soon. It shouldn’t. A tradition is a tradition and most people know the Texas Motor Speedway simply because of the cowboy hat and those two pistols.
It could be considered one of the most hypocritical thing done in NASCAR in recent memory. The sport made it clear that they wanted to show their support for the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting. They enabled Michael Waltrip to drive a special No. 26 car in loo of the No. 30 which the team he was driving for, Swan Racing, usually campaigns. The sport attempted to gather race fans together to donate their money to help ease the pain of those effected by the tragedy.
Now, they’re enabling a gun ownership group, the largest in the country, to sponsor a race. The N.R.A. already takes part in NASCAR. They’re usually associate sponsors on the Bass Pro Shop cars and are the primary sponsor in a few events each year, one of those being the races held at the Texas Motor Speedway.
The move can be good if anti-gun groups don’t flip out over it. After all, race fans don’t really go to the race because of the title sponsorship. However, it’s going to be different to be seeing the N.R.A. 500 instead of the Samsung/Radioshack 500 which has been the title sponsor of the April race at Texas for quite some time.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.