Indy Hump Day Report, On the bubble: National Guard Cash?

Could Panther be looking for a new sponsor in 2012?

(All views expressed are those of Spike Rogan, and not that of

If Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minnesota has her way, YES! Representative McCollum has proposed cutting the Department of Defense (DoD) spending on sponsorships. Mainly on auto racing. We learned last year that Panther has received about $30 million (over three seasons) of U.S. Tax Dollars from the DoD. We also learned that well over a million dollars was paid in salary to British Citizen, Dan Wheldon.

Now the CNN report breaking this story singles out NASCAR and makes no mention of Panther and the IZOD INDYCAR Series. (Also, sad commentary that the Series needs to do tons of work to still be noticed by the “mainstream media”.) But make no bones about this, should this bill pass, the end is near for the 4 car and Hildebrand. (Few corporations will spend what the National Guard has for as limited exposure as they get in the IICS.)

As much as I like Hildebrand and the Panther Racing team (Owning several shirts, stickers, and a ACUPAT Wheldon ballcap), I tend to agree with Re. McCollum. See the DoD according to McCollum in the CNN piece linked above, has spent $100 million dollars in the last ten years sponsoring NASCAR. Couldn’t this be money better spent on the troops?

Let’s be real, just $30 Million would be better spent on dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), than on Dale Jr. and Panther Racing. $100 Million could be better spent on giving raises to our military members instead of freezing their pay increases and re-signing bonuses.

$100 million would have been better spent on; better body armor for all boots on the ground, over Ryan Newman’s mediocre NASCAR team, and Dale Jr’.s race to DNF first.  But instead we get this alleged “Honoring the Troops” talking points. Hey, I honor the troops with (American made) stickers, flags, and magnets. The DoD does not pay me to do this, and I’m poor!

Yet millionaires like; on the NASCAR side Rick Hendrick, in the past Theresa Earnhardt, and for INDYCAR people including Joe Cain, Dill Driscoll, Mike Griffin, Courtney Jones, John Barnes, and former NFL Quaterback Jim Harbaugh, all need taxpayer cash to do it. None of these people listed live paycheck to paycheck like the enlisted members of the military and most Americans. These are all people who could “honor” the troops out of their own pocket. So that line is “weak sauce”!

Speaking of Rick Hendrick, this guy has three teams that receive DoD funds, plus they have money coming from the AARP to promote a charity to help starving seniors. Rick could again put this on Gordon’s car for free as his “donation” but instead he needs to turn a profit. The only charity that Hendrick ever put on his car for free was the Bone Marrow Cancer charity in the late 1990’s, when he had Bone Marrow Cancer. So in other words, he only did it to help himself. How charitable!

Now people also like to claim that with an all volunteer service they need to do this to get new members. Really? They only will serve their country if you help Dale Jr. or field a car in the Indy 500? Boy how Patriotic these recruits’ must be. Let’s hope Bin Laden doesn’t sponsor a race team. (Does anyone know a single person who never considered the military until a race sponsorship?)

What really annoys me is the pompous claims from NASCAR on this. Here is what NASCAR spokesperson Ramsey Poston told the Virginian-Pilot; “NASCAR fans are the kind of people who fight America’s wars, which would put into question the wisdom of banning the military’s ability to reach out to them,”. Really, so no patriotic Americans serve who happen to be INDYCAR fans? Are these people kidding me? It was bad enough Darrell Waltrip lies claiming “NASCAR invented the Safer Walls” and forgets, Tony George, and IMS did that before Earnhardt Sr. was killed by NASCAR’s lacking safety rules. But do you people understand that you do not have the only patriotic Americans? What *******s!

I agree with Rep. McCollum, these sponsorships have no effect on gaining better members, what it really is, simply an excuse for DoD brass to get VIP passes to racing events on your (my American readers) buck.

The DoD is not the only part of the U.S. Government wasting tax dollars in auto racing. Early in 2010; my at the time employer, The Department of Commerce (DoC), sponsored Gregg Biffle in NASCAR. Now talk about wasted tax dollars, they had nearly zero camera time with the Census ad on the car. Plus I never met a soul who said they did their survey because they saw it on the 16 car. Go figure these NASCAR stars, owners, and fans are the first to cry about government excess, how they are “taxed enough already”, yet they all love filling their wallets with—Government excess spending!

Instead of sponsoring Dale Jr. and Panther, maybe these funds the DoD is dying to spend could be better used on important matters—like solving the suicide crisis in the military of recent. I’m not for destroying the military; I love our military and the members. (I am even good friends with several active duty members)

With tough times, perhaps we should move the large piles of cash from tax payers to where it is more needed. Dale Jr. is not where it needs to be, Panther Racing (sorry guys) is not a top priority; PTSD treatment for active duty personnel, better body armor, better pay, all better places to drop $100 million. Or even move that cash over into the VA budget. Lord knows the VA is highly under funded and over loaded with demand these days. (Oh and Dale Jr. wasted your tax dollars today.)

Yes I am a hypocrite when I wear my Wheldon swag. I did buy it on blowout clearance.

Should the IZOD INDYCAR Series race on the IMS road course?

That is the question my buddy and host of the Inside Groove on this last show Monday night, and started a hot topic on the question at Track Forum as well.

Should the IZOD INDYCAR Series race on the IMS road course in early October? The question also asks about a weekend with Grand-Am or ALMS on the IMS twisty layout.

What do you think? We are looking for Pro and Con support from fans. You can E-Mail me, Tweet me @SpikeRogan . Or even tune in live Monday February 21st at 8PM ET to contact us live with your thoughts.

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7 Thoughts to “Indy Hump Day Report, On the bubble: National Guard Cash?

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Spike Rogan and Spike Rogan, said: New Content: Indy Hump Day Report, On the bubble: National Guard Cash? – […]

  2. Spike,

    Let me start off by saying I actually really enjoyed reading this. Not that I don’t enjoy reading the other stuff (cause I do), but obviously this hits at home for me. I agree that the levels of money spent on the race teams is a little over the top and I think could be put to better use. I think the comment about paying that money to a Brit is ridiculous. Let us not forget who is the first to jump in these wars with us. The British. I think by the National Guard paying a Brit to drive is more than fine. Just my opinion as someone who has worked with some of the UK’s bravest and finest citizens. Much repsect to them!!

    I will say coming from the other side as well that I like to see my branch represented on the sidepod of a car. I used to like it on the hood of NASCAR, but since I don’t watch it I could care less lol. When Rafa had the USAF on the side of his car, if Marco was not going to win, then I wanted him because he was a direct extension of me in a way. Also, I think it helps draw more fans that have sons and daughters serving in those services. For example, 2 years ago at the 500, I took my mom down to the track for bump day and she knows nothing of INDYCAR. She instantly took to Wheldon’s ACU clad car because my father had just seperated/retired from the Guard. Then she seen Rafa and the USAF car and instantly jumped ship because it was in fact USAF. While we have a number of soldiers, sailors, airman, and marines (enlisted mostly) invited to these events as special guests of the teams, you are also connecting the series with their families too. Kinda gives the non fans a reason to cheer for someone and maybe pay more attention to the series.

    I know my points don’t align completely with your article, that is just the thought from this side. However, that being said, I cannot see the DoD paying millions just so I have a backup team to follow. Good article though and thanks for the kind words about getting better benefits and what not!

  3. Aaron

    I totally disagree with you. Services always have a budget set aside for recruiting. That is the budget being used. As a member of the National Guard, it gives me great pride to see the National guard and Army colors on the #4 IndyCar. Also, what most people don’t realize is that we have soldiers in the Indiana National Guard that are indeed British. Furthermore, we participate in officer/NCO exchange programs where we train together and share ideas. The Brits are our brothers across the pond. Dan Wheldon put forth a tremendous amount of effort supporting and promoting the soldiers. I can’t say I ever felt suicidal after my tour in Iraq. However I was definitely depressed after my experiences and always had somewhere to go for help. A huge roadblock to getting soldiers help they need is their fear of appearing weak. I know this because I felt this fear before I got the help I needed. Point is that there is already programs in place. It’s just challenging to break a lifetime worth of brainwashing to convince soldiers or anyone for that matter that there is nothing wrong with seeking mental counsel. Author, you have no idea what you’re talking about, and it’s a shame you wish to take away a source of pride for many of us. You, of course are entitled to your opinion.

  4. lol Shaun ,

    So your admitting to being an American who serves this nation that is not a NASCAR fan. I need to introduce you to Ramsey Posten.

    I understand the other side as well. But like I said, there are plenty of wealthy folks in the Paddock (or Garage in NASCAR) who could bring the members and families of Active Duty and Reservist as well.

    And you know better than anyone, I have the utmost admiration for those who serve. I will be proudly sporting the ABU pattern in the paddock this season. (With my MOLLE radio pouch in ACU).

    Oh and as for Wheldon, my issue is more that if the team is sponsored to recruit Americans it should only be American drivers.

    We did fix that with Hildebrandt.

    And of course, thank you for your service.

  5. Alan Turner

    Kinda of tired of Spike’s political views showing up on here. This is at least the third article he has written for Open Paddock that expressed political opinions. I did see the disclaimer on this article but there have been other more insidious displays previously with out any disclaimer. Has he finally gone over the top??

    Frankly I’m finding it more than a little tiresome. I guess what makes it even worse to me is that I find myself rarely agreeing with either his political views or even his take on motorsports events. Who does he think he is, Keith Oberman?? Spike, go report on politics or check the politics at the door.

    I check this sight everyday for the latest in racing news. I have enjoyed commenting on here and the sharing and debating of points with everyone on here. Even when I found disagreement with others the debate has always been high quality and supported by excellent research, experience and insight. But, if Spike doesn’t put a lid on it then I will participate else where

  6. Dear Allan,

    I enjoy the discussion with rational adults who I might not agree with. (See Above commenters.) I would like to know what were the other two pieces I had “my politics” in that you are so adamant about?

    Since your keeping such tight tabs on every word I say even though you hate me so much, could you please be specific where else have I thrown “my politics” in since, well I went back on my pieces and, I think your maths is a bit off.

    You understand that not only do not all people agree with or care for me, the same also applies for your fine self, right? While you may think you are the most important fan in racing, your one of millions.

    Feel free to read the other people here at Open Paddock and ignore my work, much like I have the ability from this point to ignore your need to insult and attempts to outsmart everyone.

    Thanks and have a wonderful life,

  7. Alan Turner

    Dear Spike,

    Allow me to address your previous post item by item.

    1) Please give me the respect of spelling my name correctly. I understand that there are different ways to spell Alan (Allan and Allen in the Anglo world, Alain(French), Allyn, Alyn in the meterosexual effeminate parts of the world) but MY name is Alan. A L A N. Come on, spell it with me A L A N. I don’t mind if you shorten it and call me Al (two of my more favorite race car drivers) but please don’t misspell it. Although my middle name comes from Duane Carter Sr.

    2) I may go back through your columns but not tonight. Believe me when I say that your latest work was expected. As soon as I read about the proposed amendment to the bill I figured you would have something to say about it. In retrospect I guess you fancy yourself as editorializing here. Just a small piece of advice though. While I am sure I make spelling and grammatical errors I do not pretend to be a professional or even a part time journalist. You on the other hand do. In light of that it may serve you to learn the difference between YOUR and YOU’RE. As in “your one of millions”. My one of millions what? Now come on. Laugh with me. I may disagree with you on many things but YOU’RE a better writer than that aren’t you? 🙂

    3) I don’t “hate” you. I just don’t agree with much of what you have to say. Conversely, I have found areas where we do seem to agree on. I consider that a normal interpersonal relationship. A fine example of were we agree would be on the ridiculous notion that NASCAR has even some how contributed to the advancement in safety let alone be a leader. THANK YOU VERY MUCH for making that point!!! But alas, I fear that history has been rewritten to the point that I heard an avowed Indy Car fan make the comment once that while it was true that Indy was the first place for the SAFER barriers but it wasn’t for Indy car safety but was instead mandated by NASCAR. I was speechless. Well, at least for a moment any way!! If you are interested and want further proof of NASCAR’s attempts at spin you may remember the much hailed report of the investigation into the death of Dale Sr. If you recall, they put up pictures of the “torn” safety harness and claimed that it was the result of belt dumping. I lived in the Daytona area and I happened to run into the man who was literally the first one on the scene (not including Sterling Marlin of course) This man was a local EMT and he informed me that the damage was done by his knife. He even showed me the knife. Seem far fetched? I’m sure most people would agree. In fact I thought he was telling my a line. Then he showed me the front page picture of himself in the local paper first approaching then leaning into the car. NASCAR lied to cover their ineptitude and I have seen the proof. This guy even went to the coordinator of the emergency response teams at DIS about it and he was told to keep his mouth shut or he wouldn’t be working in Daytona as an EMT ever again.

    4) I am certainly aware that I am not the only fan of motor racing. My family lineage has a great amount of racing experience. My grandfather was a USAC official and personally knew Tony Hulman and “Big” Bill France just to name two of the more prominent people in racing in the past 60+yrs. Between my grandfather, father, my son and myself we have over 150yrs of Indy 500 attendance. Not to mention probably 50 plus other races a year for each of us. I have raced, wrenched, officiated, promoted races and trained drivers. While that gives me a far more educated and experienced perspective than the vast majority of people in the stands, I alone do not pay the bills. You are correct in pointing out that I am only one of millions. ALL of the fans are important. I will even go so far as to say that ALL of the fans are the most important thing in racing. Even more important than driver safety. Think not? If the fans wanted a blood sport racers would give it to them ( and did for 75% or more of all of racing history) Thankfully, the fans have decided that they would rather see their racing hero’s grow and die old instead of in fiery wrecks. As a racer I want it to be as safe as possible. But, as a racer I know I would still strap in if the fans wanted it more dangerous. I can say that because I did strap in during a more dangerous time.

    5) I may take your advice and restrict my reading to others here at Open Paddock. I was really rather hoping that you would tone the politics down some and avoid the obvious political issues so that I would continue to read your writing and be informed by your journalism and opinions whether I agree with them or not. Because I do really like a good “argument” in the trading of opinions and pointing out flaws or giving props to your opponents argument sense of the word. I find it informative and fun. As for outsmarting everyone isn’t that the point of an argument? Winning your point by bringing to bear superior knowledge or intellect? I thought the whole point of being able to comment on web sites was to voice your opinion and support it through argumentation. All I’m asking is to keep it more focused on the racing and less on political issues. I’d rather hope that the editorial board of the NY Times( or any other mass media outlet) stayed out of racing forums.

    6) Insults??? OK, I guess I did sort of compare you to Keith Oberman and for that I am deeply sorry. No one who is a fellow motor sports fan should be lumped together with anyone of Oberman’s lowly stature. Oberman had a hard time keeping his politics out of his reporting while at ESPN and so I was drawing some parallels. But please understand that that was the limit of my comparison. I should never have inferred that you were anything like that Jane Fonda loving, side walk sucking, pinko commie b*****d. OOPs, sorry, I let my basic training memories reassert themselves. But, seriously, please accept my apology.

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