Ryan Newman left no doubt Friday as to why the U.S. Army will no longer be associated with NASCAR after this season.
"From what I have heard and what I have read, there was some true politics involved," Newman said at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The news comes at a time when Congress has questioned whether spending millions of dollars on NASCAR sponsorship is worth the investment.
According to Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), who has previously co-sponsored legislation to ban the military from spending money at NASCAR events, in the last year the Army has spent $16 million sponsoring various professional sporting ventures – including NASCAR and the NHRA.
Newman's car owner, Tony Stewart, acknowledged that although it was a "possibility" all along, he was still "surprised" by the Army discontinuing its sponsorship of the No. 39 car.
Whatever the reason, Newman's future at Stewart-Haas Racing is now murky, as the team needs to find more sponsorship if he is to return to the No. 39 car next season. If not, Newman will have to find a new team to drive for next year, while SHR will focus on fielding cars for Stewart and Danica Patrick, who will move to the Sprint Cup Series full time in 2013.
"Their decision is their decision," Newman said. "It's unfortunate. I was a proud representative of the name, the people, the colors and everything else.
"... Whatever they do, I hope it is good for the Army, good for the USA to recruit and educate and improve the quality of our soldiers."