The Texas 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup will now be known as the NRA 500, at least for this year after the gun lobby took over sponsorship of the race from Samsung. 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 event will take place at the Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage announced the race will take place there on April 13th and will be run during prime time.
"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," stated Gossage
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.
"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.
Richard Childress, who owns several NASCAR teams, is a member of the NRA's board of directors.
The sponsorship comes as the gun rights advocacy group has been ramping up a $350,000 campaign against gun control initiatives in Washington. "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 to CNN.
The Sports Business Journal reported that Sprint Cup sponsorships typically sell for about $1 million per race.
Note: 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.