Carl Edwards drives ahead of Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Photographer: Getty Images
Copyright Getty Images
The National Rifle Association will sponsor the NASCAR Sprint Cup event in Texas on April 13, Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage announced Monday.
The race will be called the NRA 500 and will be run during prime time.
"NRA members and NASCAR fans love their country and everything that is good and right about America. We salute our flag, volunteer in our churches and communities, cherish our families, and we love racing." NRA Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre said a video statement played for reporters at a news conference announcing the event.
The sponsorship comes as the gun rights advocacy group has been ramping up its campaign against gun control initiatives in Washington.
Just a few weeks ago, the NRA bought newspaper ads in five states and regional ads and online commercials on websites in 15 states.
The NRA spent about $350,000 on that campaign, a source familiar with it told CNN.
It's the first time the NRA has sponsored a race in NASCAR's top series. Last year, the organization sponsored a Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The race had been promoted as the Texas 500 after the track's deal with Samsung ended last year.
"The title sponsorship costs for a Sprint Cup series race vary greatly from track to track, with variables ranging from market size to attendance, TV ratings and inventory included in the sponsorship package," Mike Zizzo, spokesman for Texas Motor Speedway, said in an e-mail.
The Sports Business Journal reported that Sprint Cup sponsorships typically sell for about $1 million per race.
"The NRA has been involved in the sport for several years and a partner of (track owner) Speedway Motorsports, Inc. for many years in various aspects, and this race entitlement is just another extension of that business relationship," Gossage said.
The winners of races at the track are often given two revolvers and a cowboy hat while taking photographs in victory lane. The fastest qualifier is awarded a shotgun.
Richard Childress, who owns several NASCAR teams, is a member of the NRA's board of directors.
The Texas Motor Speedway has more than 190,000 seats. There will be another Sprint Cup event at the track in November, sponsored by AAA.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Click on the region names in the map below to see news from that region.
RIGHT NOW: Top Stories
Police say a driver struck Phoenix police Officer Daryl Raetz and fled the scene. The vehicle has been found, but investigators are working to identify the driver.
Two women were touched by the events of this weekend and hope the families affected will ask for help if they need it.
Temperatures continue to hover near the century mark. Find out just how hot it will get this week.
Outraged viewers wanted to be heard and heated comments filled the Internet after Samy and Amy Bouzaglo's restaurant was featured on "Kitchen Nightmares". INSIDE: Owners speak out
I compared popular makeup brands to see if you have to spend a lot in order to look your best.
“There’s a handful of teams that win with defense, but a lot of teams, the teams that win, are the teams that are aggressive.”