NRA will sponsor NASCAR Sprint Cup race

March 4, 2013

Michael Waltrip drove the Sandy Hook School Support Fund Toyota in the Daytona 500. (Todd Warshaw / Getty Images)

The National Rifle Association has reached agreement with Texas Motor Speedway to sponsor a Sprint Cup race April 13 at the Fort Worth track.

The deal will create the first NRA-branded race in racing’s top-level series renaming the Texas 500 the NRA 500. The NRA sponsored a Nationwide Series race last season in Atlanta.

“It’s an organization we’ve enjoyed a long-standing relationship within the industry, including Speedway Motorsports [Inc.] and Speedway Charities,” Eddie Gossage, the track president, said during the announcement. The agreement was first reported by Sports Business Journal.

Last month, NASCAR and Swan Racing sponsored a Sandy Hook School Support Fund Toyota, driven by Michael Waltrip in the Daytona 500, to raise funds and awareness for the victims of the Newtown, Conn., shootings. It was a one-race agreement.

Bruton Smith, the chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc. that owns TMS, told ESPN Dallas that he has no concerns about partnering with the NRA.

“It’s not a touchy issue at all,” Smith told ESPN.com. “We’re at Texas. I guess if you want to find any state in the United States that is pro guns, Texas would be it. You have more hunters per capita in Texas than any place I know. The sponsor is a great sponsor. We’d welcome them if they wanted to sponsor another event.”

TMS winners are usually photographed holding unloaded six-shooters and wearing a cowboy hat.

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren | March 4, 2013