From nascar.com and indycar.com
A proposal to end military sponsorship of major sporting events was defeated in a vote of the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday night, ensuring that service branches can continue to use leagues such as NASCAR and IndyCar as a recruiting tool.
In a bipartisan vote of 216-202, the U.S. House of Representatives defeated the amendment.
|JR Hildebrand, IZOD IndyCar Series. (Photo: indycar.com)
The amendment was introduced by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) attempted to prohibit the military from spending public funds on sports sponsorships, such as the No. 88 car driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing IndyCar driven by JR Hildebrand that are backed by the National Guard.
Earlier Wednesday, House members vigorously debated the merits of military sponsorships in sports. Kingston, whose district includes Savannah, quoted published figures stating that the National Guard spent $26.5 million to back Earnhardt's car at Hendrick Motorsports in 2010, but that the money produced no actual recruits.
He also claimed that NASCAR audiences aren't an ideal target of military recruitment, because 69 percent of the sport's fan base is over the maximum age for enlistment.
On the other hand, IndyCar joined other professional sports leaders in sending letters to Congress citing the exposure the U.S. Military receives through sports.
Similarities between the military and IndyCar are striking – valor, technology, training, equipping, camaraderie – and the tie between the Indianapolis Motor Speedway-IndyCar and the U.S. Military dates almost as long as the racetrack’s inaugural event in 1911.