NASCAR is one of the fastest-growing spectator sports in the country today. While I don’t find it appealing myself, I know a lot of people who enjoy watching races. They are loyal to their favorite drivers and some are even loyal to those drivers’ sponsors just because they sponsor that driver.
It also seems that NASCAR is a sport that has deep roots in pro-gun states throughout the country. While there are exceptions, that’s just where the bulk of it seems to be.
Yet it seems NASCAR doesn’t particularly seem interested in advertising that may appeal to much of that base after this blog post over at K-Var:
In March and April 2019, several firearms retailers and manufacturers were contacted by National Event Publications, Official media sales agent for the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, NASCAR, PGA, NHRA, & USA Today Lifestyle. The pitch was to buy advertising in the official program for the last 26 races of the season. K-Var opted to advertise, as did at least 16 other manufacturers or retailers including CZ-USA, Beretta, Daniel Defense, and others. The deadline to have our artwork submitted for approval was April 19, 2019.
Then, on August 19, 2019 (four months later) we were contacted by National Event Publications with the following message.
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.
Did you know NASCAR was going through a “gradual shift on guns?” What does that even mean? NASCAR has allowed ads from firearms manufacturers for several years. AK-47s, AR-15s, and scoped rifles have all been featured in the past, so I guess, by that statement, it can only mean that NASCAR is marching toward a complete anti-gun stance—it is just slow rolling it for some reason.
Historically, NASCAR has come across pretty pro-gun. There are races co-sponsored by companies like Bass Pro Shops and the NRA, there’s the truck series sponsored by Gander Outdoor, and gun companies have been able to advertise with the sport for several years prior to this.
So, what is going on?
That’s a good question. However, note that the problem is in ads that display firearms. It argues that ads that depict “assault-style rifles/sniper rifles” have to be changed.
Is it that NASCAR is turning anti-gun, or are they just worried about a backlash? That’s impossible to say from outside of the organization.
For what it’s worth, I personally recommend cutting them a little slack. It sounds like they’re simply wanting to take the depictions of rifles out of the ads in their programs, and they may have some kind of reason for that which doesn’t involve becoming anti-gun. In our boycott-heavy culture, they may well be trying to head off potential complications.
Now, don’t get me wrong. If you’re a fan, let them know how you feel about this. Let them know you want those kinds of ads in the programs or, at the very least, aren’t going to be dissuaded from loving the sport because of it. They need to know that this move is unnecessary.
But the last thing anyone needs is a boycott over this.
However, it would be good to remind them that going further may not be the wisest business strategy either.