NASCAR is facing the public wrath of the National Rifle Association just weeks after the NRA was a co-sponsor of the Bristol night race on Aug. 17.
The NRA went after NASCAR in a tweet and a blog post on Saturday evening. The organization accuses NASCAR of going “anti-gun” with an alleged decision to change the advertising standards for guns in its at-track programs.
NASCAR is taking a "gradual shift…on guns" and will no longer allow partners to advertise commonly-owned rifles. This pathetic decision will cause their current customers to take a gradual shift on @NASCAR and will alienate potential customers. Good luck! https://t.co/HqRv7kIRci pic.twitter.com/ixBplhX45I
— NRA (@NRA) September 7, 2019
In a blog post published Aug. 21 by gun company K-Var and cited by the NRA on Saturday, National Event Publications allegedly told K-Var that NASCAR did not want assault-style rifles advertised any longer in race programs.
We just heard from NASCAR on a number of gun related ads and unfortunately, due a gradual shift in NASCAR’s position on guns, these ads must be edited/changed—especially those that are depicted as assault-style rifles/sniper rifles. NASCAR is still open to some of the less controversial gun accessories, concealed carry, or classes.
After that K-Var post was published, Yahoo Sports reached out to NASCAR spokesmen for comment on its accuracy. Those spokesmen did not respond to our multiple requests for comment.
The NRA’s anger is also coming after NASCAR and Bristol Motor Speedway made the decision to stand by the organization in 2018. Many companies cut ties with the gun lobby after the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school in 2018. But Bristol kept the NRA’s name on the race.
Now, the NRA is telling its members and anyone else paying attention that NASCAR is in the wrong with this alleged change in advertising mindset and pointing out that NASCAR fans tend to overlap with the NRA’s demographic. The Bass Pro Shops NRA 500 on Aug. 17 came two weeks after a gunman killed 22 people in a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas. A day after the El Paso shooting, a gunman killed nine people in Dayton, Ohio.
From the NRA blog post:
If you were to construct a Venn diagram of NASCAR fans and those who support our Right to Keep and Bear Arms, the union would undoubtedly be quite significant. The average race fan likely owns firearms for hunting, sporting purposes, or personal protection; all categories covered under NASCAR’s “assault-style rifles/sniper rifles” misnomers.
NASCAR Hall of Famer and team owner Richard Childress has been a staunch NRA advocate. Childress was a longtime member of the NRA’s board but resigned in the days after the Bristol race. His resignation comes amidst other board members leaving their posts as the unflattering stories have emerged about the NRA’s use of donation money and its inter-organization squabbles.
The NRA had been a co-sponsor of the Bristol night race since 2016. Before that race, the NRA had sponsored the spring race at Texas Motor Speedway. The organization’s announcement of sponsoring the 2013 race at Texas came in the weeks after the Sandy Hook mass school shooting.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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