A bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would cut military spending toward sponsoring NASCAR teams has struck a nerve with fans of the sport. Patriotism and auto racing have long been intertwined, but members of Congress are questioning whether the $26 million spent to sponsor Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s National Guard car and Ryan Newman's U.S. Army car is really money well spent, considering that zero people reportedly actually joined the National Guard as a result of the sponsorship.
Newman defended his sponsors in a statement, saying he and Earnhardt Jr. are proud to represent military and help raise awareness.
"In the end there is a reason why the Army and National Guard and everybody else is doing what they are doing," Newman said. "We are raising awareness, we are raising education, we are helping them recruitment wise. From a financial stand point we can argue until we are blue in the eyes about the price of gasoline and everything else. From my stand point I'm proud to represent them. I'm proud to do what we are doing and have the relationship and to represent the soldiers. I think (Dale Earnhardt) Junior feels the same way. It's special. It's a special sponsorship for us. I think it is a nice outlet for the soldiers to be able to come and enjoy what we do. There is a bunch of them that are race fans too. Obviously, some senators aren't but that is okay."
Expect the debate to continue over the coming weeks.