FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — National outdoors retailer Gander Mountain. Co. said Wednesday it will sponsor Clint Bowyer's car for the NASCAR Sprint Cup NRA 500 in Texas next week with a paint scheme that includes the words: "With Rights Comes Responsibility; Secure Your Firearms."
Bowyer drives the No. 15 car for Michael Waltrip Racing, which for the season-opening Daytona 500 had Waltrip driving a Toyota with a paint scheme supporting a relief fund for victims of the Sandy Hook shootings in Newtown, Conn.
Steve Uline, executive vice president of marketing for Gander Mountain, said the company is "against firearms getting into the hands of the underaged, untrained and unauthorized." Uline said Gander's partnership with MWR and Bowyer provides an ideal stage, with a prime-time race with a national television audience, to deliver the message that responsible firearms ownership should never be optional.
Gander Mountain is a St. Paul, Minn.-based company with more than 110 stores in 23 states.
Texas Motor Speedway announced last month that the National Rifle Association would be the title sponsor for the race. TMS president Eddie Gossage said then that the NRA's sponsorship was "not about politics. It's about sports marketing."
Bowyer said he is partnering with the company because he also believes that with rights comes responsibility.
"Most people think they are responsible firearm owners, but we want to make sure that when firearms are stored they are secured and locked up — meaning with gun safes and trigger locks," Bowyer said.
Beginning Friday, Gander Mountain is encouraging firearms owners to take a responsibility pledge on the company's website and use (hashtag)responsibilitypledge in social media to encourage responsible gun ownership.
"The race track and racing fans are the perfect environment in which to launch our responsible ownership initiative," Uline said. "In addition to being one of NASCAR's superstar drivers, Clint Bowyer also is an avid outdoorsman who is personally committed to responsible firearms ownership."