Yesterday, the National Guard announced that it would be ending its $32 million annual sponsorship of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr., as well as ending their $12 million contract with IndyCar driver Graham Rahal. In addition to NASCAR and IndyCar, the Pentagon's professional sports marketing efforts have wasted more than $1 billion of taxpayer funds on professional fishing, motocross, World Wrestling Entertainment, and cage fighting since the program's inception.
The program was established as a recruitment tool, but the Pentagon has never been able to verify that the program resulted in a single recruit. Since 2011, Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) has led the effort in the U.S. House of Representatives to defund Pentagon professional sports sponsorships.
In response, Congresswoman McCollum issued the following statement:
"Cancelling this NASCAR racing team contract is a victory for taxpayers and I'm pleased to say the National Guard has finally made the correct decision. Paying one race car driver $32 million in taxpayer funds year after year to put a logo on his car has been a complete waste of tax dollars," McCollum said. "It's time to put these funds into proven recruitment efforts that will provide the National Guard with the high quality recruits they'll need to meet future challenges," she concluded.