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Racing Industry Reacts To Pulled National Guard Sponsorships
Updated August 8, 2014 6:48 AM
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(UNDATED) - Millions of dollars have been spent sponsoring NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and IndyCar driver Graham Rahal.

The money comes from the National Guard. WTHR reports that's about to change.

The National Guard is ending its sponsorship of racing teams.

The National Guard says it fails to see the effectiveness and efficiency of spending Millions of taxpayer dollars for brand awareness or recruiting at a time of growing financial constraints.

The controversy over NASCAR and IndyCar sponsorships flared up this spring, after a congressional committee questioned why NASCAR failed to get even one new recruit from the the millions spent in 2012.

13 Investigates went to Washington and sat down for an exclusive interview with the former director of the Army National Guard, Lt. General Clyd Vaughn, about the alleged "waste of money."

He was the general who pushed the sponsorships during critical war time recruitment and actually started the IndyCar deal.

He defended the spending and said the sponsorships were never set up to measure individual recruiting but to advertise the National Guard brand.

At the same time, a new acting director at the Guard ordered a top-down review to look at the value and relationship between the programs and awareness of the National Guard.

"In March we initiated surveys at all 65 of our military entrance processing stations throughout the country to find out what influenced new army recruits to join the national guard. We need to continue to explore ways to measure relevancy of our programs," said Major General Judd Lyons, the Acting National Guard Director during testimony before the congressional committee.

Vaughn said: "It's kind of a lightweight deal to say "I joined the military because I like NASCAR." Or I like IRL. You don't do that. What we were looking for was an influence capability."

Bobby Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan, the team with the IndyCar Sponsorship said in a statement: "The National Guard will end all sponsorship of motorsports, including both IndyCar and NASCAR at the conclusion of the 2014 seasons. This is obviously very disappointing news to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing given the significant incremental brand exposure we have worked to produce for the National Guard in our first season together."

Hendrick Motorsports had quite a different response: "Our team has a contract in place to continue the National Guard program at its current level in 2015. We have not been approached by the Guard about potential changes and plan to honor our current agreement."



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