The NHRA has cracked down on political advertising when it comes to its competitors.
Josh Peterson, NHRA’s Vice President, Racing Administration, issued a memo to race teams reminding them of Section 11:1 of the NHRA Rulebook. As NHRA sees it, by way of their statement, advertising a political candidate on a race car doesn’t make the sport inclusive and welcoming.
“Given this and NHRA’s nonprofit status, the NHRA logo or name may not be used in conjunction with any election-related messaging, including a candidate’s name or image or any other indication of support for or opposition to a political candidate.
In addition, broadcasting standards and practices do not allow political candidate messaging to be prominently featured in our telecasts, and vehicles not in compliance may lose coverage and exposure,” Peterson said in the statement.
Some are calling the edict the Bo Butner Rule because of his display of a Donald Trump/Mike Pence campaign logo on the Pro Modified Camaro he drove at the NHRA Dodge Indy Nationals.
The NHRA rulebook states, 11:1 ADVERTISING AND OTHER MATERIAL/DISPLAYS
“NHRA reserves the right to regulate any advertising or other material that is present on site at any NHRA event including without limitation any material appearing on any participant, on the body or any other visible part of any vehicle or transporter participating in NHRA events including support vehicles, in any pit area, in any area of the dragstrip from the staging lanes to the end of the dragstrip, and any item or material on site that may constitute product placement. Participants and vehicles may be excluded from competition and from event facilities if, in NHRA’s discretion, any advertising or other material displayed on a person, race or support vehicle, or in a pit area or otherwise is not in the best interests of NHRA and the sport of drag racing, and/or is or may be in conflict with any applicable law.
“Moreover, NHRA will require compliance with all guidelines and requirements of any telecaster for events that will be telecast. In addition, NHRA may require certain indicia to be visible on a vehicle as a condition of participation in competition if NHRA determines that such requirement is in the best interests of NHRA and the sport of drag racing.
“The NHRA logo or name may not be used in conjunction with political candidates.”
NHRA confirmed if a team is legitimately sponsored by a candidate, with the candidates name and year of the election, it may remain on the car. However, NHRA said in the statement the vehicle will not be prominently featured/emphasized on television or in other content, per broadcast standards and practices. Decal size will be limited to 144 square inches on a race vehicle and 48 square inches on a motorcycle. Location will be limited to the rear quarter panel of a race car, outside for the drivers compartment of a dragster and wheelie bar side shields on a motorcycle.
The memo also detailed a driver could be disqualified from competition.
“If a matter is deemed by NHRA not to be in the best interests of NHRA and the sport of drag racing, then NHRA will not allow such matter to be displayed or advertised on-site or in connection with NHRA in any manner whatsoever. NHRA, in its sole and absolute discretion, may take any action, up to and including disqualification of a driver, for violation of this rule.
“By way of illustration and without limitation, online gambling is an activity deemed by NHRA to be not in the best interests of NHRA and the sport of drag racing, and an activity that NHRA will not allow to be displayed or advertised on site at any NHRA event or in connection with NHRA in any manner whatsoever. Websites that allow gaming that is entirely free and for fun may be permitted pursuant to further guidelines that may be requested from NHRA. Violation of any part of any such guideline will be treated as violation of the NHRA Rulebook.”
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