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Dale Earnhardt Jr. not opposed to NRA backing NASCAR Texas race

April 11, 2013|By Jim Peltz
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr., shown last week at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, on Thursday called the NRA's sponsorship of this week's NASCAR race "a good fit for Texas."
Dale Earnhardt Jr., shown last week at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia,… (Jerry Markland / Getty Images )

Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Thursday he had no issues with Texas Motor Speedway's decision to have the National Rifle Assn. as the title sponsor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race Saturday night.

The track's willingness to hold a race called the NRA 500 amid the heightened national debate over gun-control laws has raised eyebrows. It's also a tradition for the speedway to have the winner fire blanks from two six-shooters in Victory Lane.

But Earnhardt, arguably NASCAR's most popular driver, told reporters before testing at the Fort Worth track, "I think it's a good fit for Texas."

"Our opinion is if we get an opportunity to win the race, we're going to treat Victory Lane just like any other race," Earnhardt said, according to a transcript released by Team Chevy.

Asked if he had a message for his legion of fans regarding the NRA sponsorship, Earnhardt said, "I own guns. I like to hunt and I believe in ownership, but I also believe in responsibility."

"When I'm not hunting I keep my guns in a safe, out of reach from my younger family members and my nieces and nephews," Earnhardt said.

Brad Keselowski, the reigning Sprint Cup champion, said he also is a rifle owner and "I enjoy that style of life and I think we should all move on with it and let people have fun. I don't think we need to take ourselves that seriously."

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