With the Caped Crusader unavailable to lend additional assistance this weekend, Earnhardt will turn to another superhero in search of his second consecutive MIS victory.
NASCAR’s perennial Most Popular Driver will steer a special, No. 88 National Guard "Man of Steel" Chevy this weekend in the Irish Hills. A release from Hendrick Motorsports explained the special graphics scheme, saying, “Superman's values align with National Guard values. Both are citizens who put on their uniforms when their communities need them.”
In related story, an independent research firm has confirmed the value of Earnhardt’s sponsorship to the National Guard when it comes to recruiting and retaining high-quality soldiers.
Alan Newman Research of Richmond, Va., found that 90% of Army National Guard soldiers who either enlisted or re-enlisted since 2007 were exposed to the Guard through recruiting or retention materials featuring NASCAR cars and/or drivers. Of those who enlisted or re-enlisted during that time period, 85 percent agreed that professional sports are beneficial to attracting and retaining good soldiers.
The survey also confirmed the long held belief that race fans are especially receptive to the Army National Guard. NASCAR enthusiasts aged 18 to 34 -- the Guard's target demographic -- are twice as likely to consider a military career than non-NASCAR fans.
Since turning to professional sports sponsorships in 2007as an alternative to traditional, more expensive (and less effective) recruiting efforts, the Guard says it has seen a surge in recruiting, with some units having to turn away potential enlistees.