Stewart-Haas Racing announced Tuesday that the U.S. Army has decided not to renew its sponsorship of Ryan Newman's No. 39 NASCAR Sprint Cup entry for 2013. According to the team, the decision was made because of "a reallocation of [the Army's] marketing budget that will not include a presence in NASCAR." If the Army does pull out altogether, it will mark the end of a decade of involvement in NASCAR's premier series.
"The U.S. Army has worked with Stewart-Haas Racing in a mutually beneficial and highly successful relationship for the past four seasons," said John Myers, Army marketing director. "And they've performed superbly as our partner on and off the track. 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."
Although a bill introduced in Congress last year to prohibit the use of U.S. armed forces' recruitment money for sports sponsorships was soundly defeated, the issue has remained controversial. The House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment this year that would prohibit the military from sponsorship of sports events. However, the Army indicated it intends to renew its long-running sponsorship of Tony Schumacher's Don Schumacher Racing Top Fuel entry in NHRA drag racing.
"That's our intent," Myers told ESPN.com. "The NHRA is a valuable part of our motorsports outreach portfolio. We are working on an agreement through 2013. The NHRA gives us a great return on our investment."