No racing for Georgia Republican?

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Dale Jr. Foundation/National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, looks on in the garage area after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 18, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

CONCORD, N.C. –Jack Kingston, a Republican Congressman from Georgia, has joined the crusade of Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) to bar the Department of Defense from sports-related advertising for the military.

McCollum and Kingston co-sponsored an amendment to the 2013 defense appropriations bill that would end sports sponsorships by the military. The bill, including the amendment, already has passed the House Appropriations Committee.

The bill is a long way from becoming law, with a full House vote and passage by the Senate still required, but the measure could jeopardize the National Guard sponsorship of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the U.S. Army’s backing of Ryan Newman.

Kingston, who has never attended a NASCAR race, said the Pentagon had a year since McCollum introduced a similar measure last year to prove the value of sports sponsorships — and had not done so.

Perhaps Kingston hasn’t talked to the right people. Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley of the U.S. Army Accessions Command (which oversees recruiting) said last year that the Army’s NASCAR program had produced more than 46,000 bona fide recruiting leads in 2010 from its NASCAR program alone.

Earnhardt suggested that the amendment’s sponsors should do more homework before drawing conclusions. He’s also surprised a Republican from the South hasn’t made a play for the “NASCAR Dads” audience.

“Yeah, just because he’s a Republican from Georgia, he should have been to a NASCAR race by now,” Earnhardt quipped.


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