In the latter series, the National Guard's partnership with Panther Racing (now in its fifth season) has been the most important of these types of sponsorships. Panther takes deep pride in supporting the Guard in numerous ways, from highlighting local Guardsmen as "Hometown Heroes" at each race to helping the "Hiring Our Heroes" initiative that seeks to bring down high unemployment levels amongst soldiers and veterans.
It now appears that the two-time IZOD IndyCar Series champions will be able to continue working with the Guard for years to come, as the aforementioned amendment has been defeated in the House of Representatives by a vote of 216-202. According to the Associated Press, the amendment would have also affected military sponsorships in the NHRA, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and competitive bass fishing.
On Wednesday, Panther released a statement on the vote:
"All of us at Panther Racing are very happy with the outcome of today’s vote in the House of Representatives on an amendment that would have banned the military from sponsoring professional sports. We are especially thankful that many in Congress were able to recognize the enormous tangible return professional sports provides to the recruitment, retention and overall marketing efforts of our Nation’s military. The magnitude of the platform provided by professional sports partnerships, and the positive message about our Nation’s military that is conveyed through sporting events like the Indianapolis 500 and many others, is astronomical.
"In Panther Racing’s history, nothing has been a larger point of pride than the responsibility of representing the National Guard, its Soldiers and their families. We look forward to the opportunity to continue to spread their message across the country."