Published: Feb 18, 2011 8:11 PM EST
Updated: Feb 18, 2011 5:11 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) - The House has voted to let the Pentagon continue using taxpayer dollars to sponsor NASCAR race teams.

By a 281-148 vote, lawmakers rejected an effort by Minnesota Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum that would have ended the practice.

McCollum aides said the Army is spending $7 million on a sponsorship this year, and the Air Force and National Guard are spending additional money. McCollum said the military spends the funds to place decals on race cars and for a few driver appearances. The armed forces hope the sponsorships will help them attract recruits.

The Navy and Marine Corps dropped their NASCAR sponsorships in recent years, saying they didn't know whether they worked.

 Most Democrats backed McCollum's effort, while Republicans voted overwhelmingly against it.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)