A U.S. Senator for Connecticut is asked NASCAR to "reverse its decision to name" one of its races after the National Rifle Association.
Earlier this week, the NRA signed a one-year agreement to be the title sponsor for the April 13 race at the Texas Motor Speedway.
"The NRA has been involved in the sport for several years and a partner of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. for many years in various aspects, and this race entitlement is just another extension of that business relationship," said Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage. "We look forward to another successful partnership with the NRA for our April race week of activities."
The decision to sign the contract is the Texas Motor Speedway's and not NASCAR's.
"As you may or may not know, race sponsor entitlement partnerships are agreements directly between the track and the sponsor," NASCAR told Eyewitness News Thursday.
The race, which will be called the NRA 500, is part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The NRA 500 is first prime-time Saturday evening race of the 2013 season, according to Texas Motor Speedway officials.
"The NRA 500 is the latest announcement in the long history of a growing partnership between the NRA, Speedway Motorsports and the NASCAR community," said NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre. "NRA members and NASCAR fans love their country and everything that is good and right about America."
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, who has been outspoken on gun control and against the NRA, urged NASCAR to change its decision.
"They should stay out of political debate about gun violence," the senator tweeted Thursday.
The decision to rename the race comes almost three months after Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed his mother as she slept in her bed Dec. 14.
He then traveled the few miles to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he proceeded to shoot out a security window, make his way into the building and kill 20 children and six adults. He then shot and killed himself as police made their way into the school.
During an interview with Eyewitness News, Murphy called the decision to rename the race "irresponsible during the most important debate over gun control in a generation."
At the Daytona 500, Michael Waltrip, who is a two-time winner of the race, drove the No. 26 Lean1 Swan Racing Toyota representing Sandy Hook.
NASCAR officials met with Newtown town officials, first responders and victims' families before making their decision.
Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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