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When Stewart-Haas Racing announced it had re-signed Ryan Newman on a one-year deal for the 2013 NASCAR season, it did so without sponsorship. The U.S. Army had decided to pull out of the sport, and it was uncertain which company would replace the funding for those races.
There were talks in the works with potential sponsors, but nothing was really set. It left some wondering if team owner Tony Stewart was taking a risk by signing a driver without sponsorship in place.
In that regard, Stewart, Newman and the rest of SHR breathed a big sigh of relief on Tuesday when they announced Quicken Loans had re-upped as Newman's sponsor for 2013 – and in a significant way.
Instead of sponsoring Newman for nine races – as it did this season – Quicken Loans is "doubling down" to sponsor the driver for 18 races in 2013. That's primary sponsorship for half the Sprint Cup Series season, and, combined with Newman's existing sponsors like Outback, Aspen Dental and WIX Filters, Stewart said there are only a few unsponsored races remaining.
Stewart himself has inventory after Office Depot announced it was pulling out of NASCAR, but Bass Pro Shops is expected to announce it will pick up those races. Mobil 1 will return as a Stewart sponsor.
Though Newman took a step closer to being set on sponsorship, it's unclear who will crew chief for his No. 39 team. SHR is considering Newman's current crew chief Tony Gibson as Danica Patrick's crew chief next season – though nothing has been finalized.
Patrick is set on sponsorship with Go Daddy, who will sponsor the driver for all 36 races in her rookie season.