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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

U.S. Army to retire as NASCAR sponsor

English: A decision to change only two tires d...
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The handwriting has been on the wall, though it has been made official that at the end of this year, NASCAR sponsorship by the U.S. Military will end. Though it has only been the U.S. Army that has made the announcement, other branches of the armed forces will probably follow soon.

The U.S. Army has been a primary sponsor for Ryan Newman's #39 car since 2009 when he came to drive for the fledgling Stewart-Haas Racing, (SHR) team The U.S. Army had participated in sponsorship in some capacity for the past 10 years.

The end to the army's sponsorship in NASCAR comes about as the House Appropriations Committee last month approved an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill to end military sponsorship in sports venues in an effort to trim military spending. A similar effort in the previous bill failed, but this year has gotten traction.

Newman's contract is up at the end of this year

With the end of Newman's contract with SHR in sight, his future is uncertain. Co-owner Tony Stewart has already said signing a contract with Newman in 2013 is dependent on sponsorship. He already gave Newman the option to explore other opportunities.

While I'm not worried that Newman will find a ride next year, anything other than SHR would be less than desirable in my view. He and Stewart work well together. SHR seemed the ideal fit for Newman.

I have to admit that I have never been comfortable with the U.S. Army or any other tax-supported sponsorship in NASCAR. But, you pick your battles; so I admit compromising my principles on this one, since Newman is my favorite driver.

Principally, I oppose spending tax dollars for sports in any capacity. I  was also against the GOP giving track owners $100 million in perks through earmarks in the stimulus bill in 2008.

In NASCAR, it really is all about the money. 

I don't believe money is solely the driving force behind Newman. He is a racer; motivated by his life-long love of racing. That is why it is ironic and sad that money and ultimately the sponsorship of his race team must now take such a high profile in his career.

By the way, remember how great it looked to see Bass Pro Shops on Newman's car at Darlington earlier this year? Could there be a better fit for Ryan Newman than Bass Pro Shops? Fishing is his go to activity when he isn't on the race track? Ryan has such a love of outdoors and has donated so much of his own time and money to the these activities, not to mention the work his foundation does with dogs and cats. Therefore, wouldn't it be logical to see his race car sponsored by a Cabelas or Lowrance, Ranger Boats, Triton Boats, Evinrude, Mercury Marine or a myriad other companies that have to do with his favorite pastime?

Perhaps other companies that he deals with could also lend a hand; companies like Iams, Purina, Eukanuba, and others that reflect his personal and professional interests.

Newman has done plenty to promote his favorite products Perhaps it is time for them all to return the favor.

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