NASCAR may look harder at sponsorship process


NASCAR appears open to applying more scrutiny to potential sponsors as the Sprint Cup Series prepares to run tomorrow night at Texas Motor Speedway in a race backed by the National Rifle Association.

While NASCAR has chosen to take no position on gun rights, spokesman David Higdon acknowledged on Friday that a closer look at sponsorship approval is needed.

“The NRA’s sponsorship of the event at Texas Motor Speedway fit within existing parameters that NASCAR affords tracks in securing partnerships,” Higdon said according to the Associated Press. “However, this situation has made it clear that we need to take a closer look at our approval process moving forward, as current circumstances need to be factored in when making decisions.”

Before signing on as a sponsor of tomorrow’s 500-mile race at TMS — dubbed the “NRA 500” — the organization sponsored the Nationwide Series’ “NRA American Warrior 300” last September at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

But with American lawmakers currently in the midst of a debate over gun rights following last December’s massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, tomorrow’s event has drawn added attention and criticism. One of those critics, Sen. Chris Murphy (D – Conn.), has gone as far as writing a letter to News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch that asks him not to air the race on his Fox network.

But TMS president/general manager Eddie Gossage said on Thursday that he himself hasn’t seen “even a tiny uproar” about his track’s pact with the NRA.

“As far as this senator, I appreciate personally a publicity effort,” Gossage said according to The Dallas Morning News’ Gerry Fraley. “That’s two times [Murphy] has bit at this apple and gotten himself some publicity both times.”

Racing world reacts to Danica Patrick’s Daytona, Indy double news

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Here’s a sampling of quotes and social media reaction to Danica Patrick’s news announced earlier Friday that this would be her last full-time season as a driver, and that she’ll race in the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 only in 2018.

This ends a full-time stretch in the top flights of NASCAR and IndyCar. She was in NASCAR from 2012 through 2017, and IndyCar from 2005 through 2011.

Her’s her own post on Twitter and Instagram.

Well…. 2018 Daytona 500 and Indy 500 here I come. 🙌🏼

A post shared by Danica Patrick (@danicapatrick) on

IMS President J. Douglas Boles

“We’re glad Danica plans to return to the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil next May,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Her final career start will make what’s already shaping up to be a terrific Month of May even more interesting for our fans.

“It’s also fitting that Danica is wrapping up her career at the place and in the race where she became a household name and captured the world’s attention in 2005 – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500. We’re looking forward to seeing her back in an Indy car next May alongside all of the tremendous drivers of the Verizon IndyCar Series.”