POSTED: Sunday, April 14, 2013 - 10:34am
UPDATED: Sunday, April 14, 2013 - 10:58am
CNN — Saturday's NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway sped into some controversy over its sponsor.
The National Rifle Association had purchased naming rights to the race earlier this year and that has a Connecticut senator upset.
Connecticut Senator, Chris Murphy said, "NASCAR and Fox should've been a little bit more sensitive to the families and the community of Newtown and stayed out of this debate."
Murphy is upset that NASCAR signed off on the NRA sponsorship which was negotiated by Texas Motor Speedway, especially now when gun control legislation is about to be debated saying that another sponsor could have been found for the race and that they could have waited until after the debate to have the NRA sponsor a race.
"It's just really, really poor timing," said Murphy.
NASCAR says that the NRA began brokering the deal with the speedway before the Newtown shootings. NASCAR even donated money to Newtown.
In February the Daytona 500's race car driver, Michael Waltrip won praise for painting his number #26 car in tribute to the victims in the Newtown shooting.
But Murphy said, "It gives the impression that FOX and NASCAR support the NRA's position."
NASCAR is denying taking sides, but Senator Murphy says that's not how most will see it. Fox isn't commenting.
A source says the network is obligated by contract to air the race. The track president isn't hiding his feelings about Senator Murphy.
"The American public is not engaged in this, but senator keeps trying to stir it up and I can appreciate that. But he's in Connecticut and we're in Texas and his values don't fly here."
Race officials at this time point out that the NRA isn't handing out fliers though a lot of people are posing for photos at its booth, fans are mainly focused on the race, not politics.
While the speedway is downplaying the controversy, NASCAR says it will rethink its sponsorship approvals process going forward.