The NASCAR race in April at Texas Motor Speedway has found a new calling, so to speak: the Duck Commander 500.
Duck Commander, the family that manufactures duck calls — and stars in A&E television’s Duck Dynasty — signed a three-year agreement to sponsor the track’s Sprint Cup race in April, speedway President Eddie Gossage said in a statement from track officials Thursday.
The reality show about Phil Robertson, his four sons and their wives, and their company in West Monroe, La., is among the most popular on television. A&E threatened to pull the show last fall after Robertson gave his thoughts on homosexuality, which stirred controversy.
He was asked during an interview by GQ's Drew Magary what exactly he considered sinful about being gay. “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there," he said, "bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."
But the problem was smoothed out, and A&E agreed to continue with the show.
“This is perhaps the most unique sponsorship in professional sports because not only does this come with special branding, it comes with celebrity spokespeople that are followed by tens of millions of people every week,” Gossage said in the statement.
“Fans will see members of the Robertson family and cast of Duck Dynasty and all the rest during Duck Commander 500 week here at Texas Motor Speedway, and we have produced some awesome merchandise that both race fans and Duck Commander fans will love. This marriage is perfection.”
The Duck Commander 500 is scheduled for April 6. It is the seventh race on the Sprint Cup schedule.
Duck Commander CEO Willie Robertson said: “We are all big fans of NASCAR and have been all our lives. It’s especially exciting to see our brand join to make it an awesome experience for the fan base, and we can’t think of a better place than our neighbor at the Texas Motor Speedway.”
The Duck Commander company began in 1972. It earns millions from duck hunting merchandise, clothing and wine.
“Uncle Si’s Tea” will be sold at the track, along with Duck Commander Family Foods’ barbecue sauce, salsa and beef jerky. Robertson family members will serve in roles such as grand marshal and honorary starter.
Race tickets go on sale Feb. 14 at texasmotorspeedway.com.