NASCAR is going to take a closer look at sponsorships and public reaction to them.
David Higdon, a series spokesman, released a statement Thursday night that said, “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.”
Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway, sponsored by the NRA, has raised public debate about gun safety, ownership and rights following the shooting deaths of 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December.
When TMS announced the sponsorship in March, track president Eddie Gossage said it was not a political message.
NASCAR officials said sponsorships are agreements between the track operators and the sponsor.
But Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy criticized the agreement in March, and this week asked Fox not to televise the race.
In response, NASCAR released its statement:
“NASCAR has no official position on the gun rights debate. Our fans, racing teams and industry partners come from all walks of life and thus have varying points of views and opinions. As a sport, we are in the business of bringing people together for entertainment, not political debate.
Race entitlement partnerships are agreements directly between the track and sponsor. NASCAR reserves the right to approve or disapprove those sponsorships. The NRA’s sponsorship of the event at Texas Motor Speedway fit within existing parameters that NASCAR affords tracks in securing partnerships. 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.”