Bristol Motor Speedway announced Thursday that the National Rifle Association will remain a co-sponsor of the NASCAR Cup series’ Bristol Night Race.
Owing to the sponsorship agreement, the race has been run under the name Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race since 2015. Bass Pro Shops will also retain their half of the sponsorship.
“This has been a good long-standing partnership and we plan to continue,” Bristol Motor Speedway said in a statement, according to.
The announcement of the continued partnership comes amid a turbulent time for the gun rights organization. In the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead, several corporations have distanced themselves from the NRA, with many ending programs that awarded various perks to card-holding NRA members.
NASCAR’s spring race at Texas Motor Speedway – now called the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 – was briefly sponsored by the NRA in 2013 despite significant opposition from fans and politicians at the time.
Following that controversy and the race's renaming, NASCAR established sanctions that allow the company to reject sponsorship agreements on various grounds.
"NEM (NASCAR Event Management) further agrees that it will disapprove of a prospective entitlement sponsor only if such prospective entitlement sponsor's brand has been tarnished by controversy, crisis, or circumstance such that its association with the event would damage the NASCAR brand or the image of the sport, or the entitlement sponsor's brand would violate the network's broadcast standards," the sanctions read, per Pockrass.
The 2018 edition of the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race is scheduled to be run on Aug. 18.
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