The U.S. Army will no longer be a NASCAR sponsor.
Stewart-Haas Racing announced Tuesday that the Army, which currently is a part-time primary sponsor of Ryan Newman's No. 39 car, is ending its presence in NASCAR after this season due to a reallocation of its marketing budget.
The decision makes Newman's tenure at SHR even more questionable, as his return to the team next season was already said to be dependent on sponsorship.
The Army had been a NASCAR sponsor for 10 years and was at one time a full-season sponsor. It had steadily reduced its involvement in recent years.
"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," Army marketer John Myers said in a statement.
SHR will still work to get sponsorship for Newman in 2013, and it has said he is the only driver it is currently considering for the No. 39 car – if that car exists. With Danica Patrick likely going full-time in the Sprint Cup Series next season, the organization would need to expand to three fully-sponsored teams to bring back Newman.
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), who had co-sponsored legislation with a Republican Congressman to ban military spending at NASCAR events, praised the Army's decision to cut back.
"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."
According to McCollum's office, the Army spent $16 million on professional sports sponsorships this year. Total spending by the Pentagon on all sports sponsorships – including motor racing, bass fishing and ultimate fighting – is over $80 million, her office said.