NASCAR's Sprint Cup race on April 13th will have a new sponsor that's sure to cause plenty of controversy. The Texas 500 will now be named the NRA 500 after the National Rifle Association signed a one-year deal to sponsor the race.
This marks the second time the NRA will sponsor a NASCAR event, the other being a Nationwide Series race they sponsored at the Atlanta Motor Speedway back in September.
Track president Eddie Gossage had some interesting comments about the new sponsorship deal. When asked about whether he thought it'd be controversial, Gossage responded, "It is a sports marketing event. It's not a political platform."
Gossage later commented on how he believes the decision to allow the NRA to sponsor the race has been well received, saying:
"The response on social media has been 99%, I'm not exaggerating, favorable. Most of those enthusiastically favorable. It's met with good response. That's based on Twitter and Facebook pages for the track."
He added the he believes the NRA's sponsorship will be a positive for the sport, stating he thinks it will "play to the core audience in NASCAR."
It's safe to say that the decision to use the NRA as a sponsor will certainly ruffle some feathers, but at least one driver supports the decision. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., a Sprint Cup rookie, was highly supportive of the NRA sponsoring the race.
"The NRA is our core fan base, and we all have guns, and all us racers love to go out and shoot. It's part of who we are. Any time you have a sponsor that embraces their market and who their core customers are, it's great for us."
Will there be a negative response as the race draws closer? We'll have to wait and see.
(H/T USA Today)