The No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet driven by Ryan Newman - NASCAR photoEnlarge Photo
The U.S. Army has elected to truncate its affiliation with NASCAR after this season, leaving Stewart-Haas Racing's No. 39 Chevrolet Sprint Cup car and driver Ryan Newman looking for a new affiliation for primary sponsorship. While the Army has used this sponsorship activation to enhance its troop enlistment, it believes it has a better value in its NHRA involvement with drag racing and seven-time champion Tony Schumacher in the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series' Top Fuel category.
"The U.S. Army has worked with Stewart-Haas Racing in a mutually beneficial and highly successful relationship for the past four seasons. They've performed superbly as our partner on and off the track," noted John Myers, director of marketing support element, Army marketing and research group.
"The same can be said of other members of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series family we have sponsored during the past 10 seasons. The sport, our drivers and the passionate NASCAR fans embraced the Army's participation and created a tremendous opportunity for Americans to learn more about the profession of the Army Strong Soldier," he stated.
While the U.S. Army is reallocating its marketing budget and will not include a presence in NASCAR starting in 2013, "The U.S. Army has been a great partner of Stewart-Haas Racing since the team's inception," according to SHR's executive vice president Brett Frood.
"It's been a mutually beneficial relationship with the U.S. Army introducing training regimens that improved our pit crews while instilling the mental, physical and emotional strength of the U.S. Army Soldier in all of us. We will continue to activate on behalf of the U.S. Army for the rest of 2012, while also growing our other dynamic partnerships at Stewart-Haas Racing for the future," he said.
A Democratic congresswoman, Betty McCollum of Minnesota co-sponsored legislation to end all military sports sponsorships that include auto racing, bass fishing and ultimate fighting. "By ending its sponsorship of NASCAR, the Army made the right move to eliminate a wasteful program and protect taxpayer dollars–which has been my goal all along," McCollum said. "Congress is facing a very difficult budget environment, and I want taxpayer dollars protected–even at the Pentagon. I applaud the Army's decision to terminate its funding of NASCAR. The Army now joins the Navy and Marine Corps in terminating its NASCAR partnership."
SHR is looking actively for a strong brand to partner its current roster that includes Office Depot, Mobil 1, Quicken Loans, GoDaddy.com, Haas Automation and others. On the GoDaddy.com side of the equation, the team revealed the final race for new SHR driver Danica Patrick, who is competing in 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series contests in 2012 as she works full-time in NASCAR's Nationwide Series.
Danica Patrick - NASCAR photo from Daytona International SpeedwayEnlarge Photo
Patrick will compete in the October 21 Hollywood Casino 400 Sprint Cup Series race on the newly-repaved Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, KS. In a collaborative agreement between SHR and Tommy Baldwin Racing, Patrick has upcoming races at Bristol (August 25), Atlanta (September 2), Chicagoland Speedway on September 16th, Dover on September 30, the Kansas date just announced, Texas on November 4 and her home race at Phoenix on November 11.
The rationale for choosing Kansas as race No. 10 for the emerging NASCAR fan favorite is the resurfacing of the track will give all drivers an extra day of practice, scheduled for the Thursday before race weekend on the 1.5-mile oval. "With the testing rules the way they are, we can't test with her at tracks where NASCAR's top three series compete," noted Greg Zipadelli, SHR competition director and Patrick's race strategist. "That extra ay of testing will be huge for her - and with the amount of 1.5-mile ovals on the schedule, it made sense to have her compete at Kansas to better prepare her for 2013."
Danica Patrick made her Sprint Cup debut in the Daytona 500; she has since competed at Darlington and Charlotte. She earned her first IZOD IndyCar Series pole at Kansas Speedway in July of 2005 and has qualified third or better in three of her six starts at the track. She has three top-10 IndyCar Series results at Kansas and her lone NASCAR Nationwide Series start in October 2011 resulted in a 15th place finish from 15th on the grid.
“I’ve always liked racing at Kansas Speedway,” Patrick said. “I think the extra day of testing will be very beneficial, not only to prepare for the race weekend, but to learn for the rest of 2012 and looking ahead to 2013 with Stewart-Haas Racing. The more track time I can get, the better, so I’m happy to be driving the GoDaddy.com Chevy at Kansas.”