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NASCAR Driver Loses Sponsor Over Christian Faith

  • Religion Today
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2012 Apr 22
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April 22, 2012

Following California's Royal Purple 300 race, NASCAR driver Blake Koch sat just 28 points out of the top 10 driver standings, but he was forced to race with a blank car after losing his primary sponsor because of a controversy over his Christian faith, Charisma News reports. After ESPN rejected an advertisement from Koch's sponsor -- a voter-registration awareness organization called the Rise Up and Register Campaign -- because of the ad's so-called "political and religious overtones," the campaign decided to stop sponsoring Koch. While the campaign itself does not promote specific religions, its website linked to Koch's website, which promotes his ministry and religious activism -- the 26-year-old driver often speaks at churches on race weekends, at Christian outreach events and on TV shows. "I didn't think that my faith in Christ would have an impact on whether or not a sponsor could air a commercial or not," Koch said March 29. "The one thing I will not do is deny my faith just because a particular sponsor might not like the way I express my faith, which I do on my own time." Going into last week's O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at the Texas Motor Speedway without a primary sponsor, Koch would have been forced to park his car, but stepped up to sponsor him after hearing about his dilemma. Koch still needs a primary sponsor for the rest of the season, however, and has started a Twitter campaign to raise awareness. But for now, "We're excited to support Blake and stand for his faith," said Bobby Downes, CEO.