NASCAR drivers will compete in a newly named race on the Texas Motor Speedway this season: the NRA 500. The speedway and the guns-rights group signed a one-year partnership this week, making it the first NASCAR race to feature the NRA as a title sponsor.
The speedway’s president doesn’t seem concerned about political backlash to the deal, calling the partnership “a very natural fit” between NASCAR fans and NRA supporters. The winner of the Texas Motor Speedway race is traditionally photographed holding six-shooters and a cowboy hat, so the NRA does seem like a good sponsor.
The partnership comes as the NRA is the center of the intense debate over gun violence, which has touched NASCAR, too. Last month, driver Michael Waltrip honored Sandy Hook Elementary School victims with car decals with information on how to donate to a support fund.
Politics has managed to find its way onto the NASCAR stage in the past: For example, Texas governor Rick Perry sponsored a car leading up to his 2010 reelection.