The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) has reportedly rejected a number of gun-related advertisements due to a “gradual shift” of their promotion of guns.
It is a surprising move for a sport whose deepest fan base is rooted in pro-Constitutional red states.
K-Var Corporation, a company that lauds itself as a “proud leader in the firearms industry since 1993,” revealed the news in a blog post on August 21st.
In their report, several firearms retailers and manufacturers were asked to make a pitch for advertising in the official NASCAR program for the latter portion of the season. At least 17 gun companies did so.
The group organizing the ad buys responded in August with a disheartening note about NASCAR’s response:
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.
— Adam Stern (@A_S12) August 22, 2019
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“Major organizations, those with no stake in politics, are taking political sides and alienating their consumers in the process,” K-Var writes.
Tom Knighton at Bearing Arms suggests cutting NASCAR a break for the decision until the organization truly explains themselves, and warns fans of igniting any boycotts.
“I personally recommend cutting them a little slack,” Knighton writes. “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.”
He adds that fans should let them know that this kind of move is unnecessary but adds: “The last thing anyone needs is a boycott over this.”
NASCAR owners schooled the NFL in the midst of the National Anthem controversy in 2017, with several telling their team members that kneeling would be prohibited.
Richard Petty, nicknamed ‘The King’ throughout his illustrious racing career, declared “Anybody that won’t stand up for the anthem ought to be out of the country … Period.”
Yet, NASCAR isn’t a stranger to shifting views due to a public outcry. In 2015, they moved their banquet from the Trump National Doral Miami resort over remarks made by the President regarding illegal immigrants.