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Nov 17, 2012 12:22am
Medium lingzi 1454 posts

BROOKLYN, Mich. Matt Ryan Jersey . —The Army National Guard
is staying on as a sponsor of Dale Earnhardt Jr.s No. 88 NASCAR Sprint Cup team.
Hendrick Motorsports said Friday it has extended its relationship with the
National Guard through the 2013 season. “I think that its good for our team and
good for the sport. Were excited that theyre ready to be on board for the next
season,” Earnhardt said Friday at Michigan International Speedway, where hell
race Sunday. “I feel comfortable that were set and we can move forward.” The
contract was scheduled to expire at the end of 2012. Last month, Congress
rejected a bid by Reps. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., and Betty McCollum, D-Minn., to
trim $72.3 million for sports sponsorships from a $608 billion defence bill for
fiscal 2013. The measure had targeted the money the National Guard spends to
sponsor Earnhardt, as well as IndyCar Series driver JR Hildebrand. Kingston
insisted that the sponsorship money was ineffective, attracting few recruits,
but he and McCollum faced strong opposition from members of North Carolinas
congressional delegation as well as lawmakers from Mississippi and Florida.
Sports leagues such as NASCAR, IndyCar, Major League Baseball, the National
Football League and the National Basketball Association sent a letter to
Republican and Democratic leaders urging them to oppose the amendment. Earnhardt
didnt sound worried about the possibility the legislation could be revisited. “I
was real happy to have the Guard sign, and I expected them to continue to be
part of the program. Weve had a real positive relationship, and theyve been real
excited about what weve been able to do,” he said. “Weve got some great ideas
coming up that we just started implementing this past week, where were going to
visit high schools and talk to kids and the parents and the principals and
getting the Guard an opportunity to have more access at that level, so were
doing some good things. “That was a lot of fun. That was the first time Ive been
to a high school to talk to a group like that, so I enjoyed that.”