Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. As we highlighted Thursday, Connecticut’s Senator Christopher Murphy took time out of his busy day to write a letter to Rupert Murdoch trying to persuade him that letting Fox Sports televise the NRA 500 from the Texas Motor Speedway would somehow be beyond the pale. As Matt in FL relays below, while the network still plans to air the race this evening, they’re doing everything they can to hide the name sponsor affiliation . . .
I can find no evidence of today’s NASCAR being referred to as the NRA 500. Even the article where they talk specifically about CT Sen. Chris Murphy asking FOX not to broadcast it never actually calls it the NRA 500, it’s referred to as the “NASCAR Sprint Cup race sponsored by the National Rifle Association” and the “NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Texas Motor Speedway.”
The Results page has it listed as “2013 NASCAR Racing at Texas,” but if you click the dropdown to look at previous races, they’re all listed by their sponsors, “STP Gas Booster 500,” “Auto Club 400,” “Food City 500,” etc.
The Schedule page has it listed as “Nascar racing at Texas.” Every single other race is listed by sponsor name.
In not one single place anywhere on FOX’s site can I find it referred to as the “NRA 500.” This is especially noticeable to people that follow NASCAR, as NASCAR and their reporters normally don’t ever miss a chance to hammer the sponsor’s name. I’ve seen commentators successfully mention the sponsor three times within one sentence.
The story where they addressed Chris Murphy’s demands said, “Fox officials declined comment Thursday. The NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Texas Motor Speedway will be broadcast as scheduled.” They may still be going to broadcast it as scheduled, and you may even see a mention or two of the NRA during the broadcast where it can’t possibly be avoided, but it sure seems they’re taking the chickenshit route and keeping it as quiet as humanly possible.
It may not seem like a big deal to many people, and some on our side probably even see it as a good thing at not stirring up the crazies, but I think it’s pretty crappy behavior, and if I was the NRA and NASCAR took my money and let FOX pull this crap, I’d be pretty hot.