The National Guard reportedly spent between five and eight-million dollars to sponsor a red-white-and-blue race car on the NASCAR circuit. Brigadier General Doug Pierce, commander of the Iowa Air National Guard, was at the speedway in Kansas City, Kansas, over the weekend to help assess that large investment in terms of visibility and recruitment.General Pierce says it’s difficult to establish a return on advertising “but anytime you have a car with your logo going around a race track in front of millions of fans multiple times, it obviously has to register with folks and if they have any interest in the military, they may pursue looking with a National Guard representative ‘How can I become a part of that?'” Pierce says the patriotic-colored number-16 car is already paying for itself in terms of morale. There are Iowa National Guard troops on duty in Iraq and Afghanistan who stay up late at night to watch these races. He says two things the troops say they miss the most are playing golf and watching NASCAR. Pierce says “Just the fact that they see the military represented in NASCAR is uplifting to those folks over there in harm’s way.” He toured the Kansas Speedway and met the crew of Greg Biffle’s car, all of whom wear red-white-and-blue uniforms emblazened with “NATIONAL GUARD” and “800-GO-GUARD.”Pierce says he’s very impressed with the professionalism of the drivers and racing crews and compares their discipline and orchestration of duties to fighter pilots and other members of the military. Ironically, the driver who won Sunday’s race is Joe Nemechek, driving a car sponsored by the U.S. Army.
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