Reporting Steve Pickett
FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - It’s 4:30pm inside Sherlock’s Pub in Northeast Dallas. A woman at the bar watches sports on a TV monitor, then answers a posed question in this manner: “Yes, I’m all for the NRA and NASCAR.”
Word spread fast over the past 24 hours. Officials with the Texas Motor Speedway announced the National Rifle Association as its title sponsor for its April 13 Sprint Cup Race, formerly known as the Texas 500. The race will be called the NRA 500. The announcement fueled a nationally televised debate Monday night, when Texas St. Senator Dan Patrick told CNN host Piers Morgan, “Texans love guns. Texans love fast cars. There’s nothing wrong with NASCAR.”
There may be something wrong with the gun-rights advocacy group putting its brand on a noted national car race, according to Jim Lane. Lane is a Fort Worth attorney, and former city councilman. He said he doesn’t believe Fort Worth should shoulder the burden of controversy that invariably would come with the NRA sponsorship of the TMS event.
“I’m a gun owner, but is this the image Fort Worth wants?” Lane questioned.
The NRA will pay an estimated one million dollars for the race sponsorship.
TMS President Eddie Gossage the NRA’s involvement is no political statement for him.
“It’s just a good fit for us and them. This is a sports marketing opportunity.”
Sports Marketing executive Erin Patton agreed. “Give the fever pitch on gun control, I think the NRA saw it was a great opportunity for them to shore up their base.”
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