Murphy fires off angry letter to NASCAR about its ‘NRA 500’

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy’s latest front in his war against the National Rifle Association has taken the form of a strongly worded letter to NASCAR CEO Brian France, demanding he reverse a decision to call a new race the “NRA 500.”

NASCAR and the Texas Motor Speedway have completed a deal to make the NRA title sponsor of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on April 13.

“But by giving the NRA sponsorship of a major NASCAR race, NASCAR has crossed a line — you have decided to put yourself in the middle of a political debate, and you have taken a side that stands in opposition to the wishes of so many Newtown families who support common sense gun reform,” Murphy, a Democrat, wrote France.

NASCAR has also honored Newtown by supporting a car that aimed to raise money for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. The car, which ran in last month’s Daytona 500, was painted the school’s colors — green and white — and bore the number 26 in honor of the number of the school’s victims. Driven by veteran racer Michael Waltrip, the car came in 22nd in a field of 43 competitors.