FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – The party has already started at Texas Motor Speedway. Thousands of race fans from around the country have arrived for the NRA 500 Sprint Cup race.
But as the party heats up, so has the debate over gun control and whether it has a place in racing.
The NRA 500 Sprint Cup Race will be seen by millions fans as the Senate debates passing gun control legislation.
Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy asked the FOX network not to air the race, saying doing so would be pushing the NRA’s agenda.
Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage, said that’s not the case.
“No one is going to force NRA literature in your hand nobody is going to be making political speeches or anything like that,”he said. “It’s going to be a race. We are going to have a winner. We’re going to have a lot of fun and that’s the extent of it.”
NASCAR then released it’s 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.”
A big red NRA billboard now overlooks the track.
“I don’t see a problem with it all,” said Becky Mabry. “I understand his views but to cancel a race or to not televise it, I think, just goes a little bit too far.”
Race officials say the billboard is not a political statement. It’s merely a sponsorship opportunity.
Fans say the gun debate needs to addressed, just not here.
“The gun issue isn’t going to be settled at a track. They need to settle it in Congress or where ever the laws are made,” said NASCAR fan Paul Regny.
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