Stewart-Haas Racing still looking for additional sponsorship

Jamey Price

Even with Danica Patrick and Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing still needs additional sponsorship for roughly 20 races.

You would think a team with two of NASCAR's most popular drivers, along with a former winner of the Daytona 500, would have little trouble securing sponsorship.

However, that isn't the case at Stewart-Haas Racing, where with the start of the season just weeks away, the team is still searching for additional backing for Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick and Ryan Newman.

According to Stewart, who met with the media Monday as part of the Sprint NASCAR Media Tour, all three SHR cars still have races to fill -- nine for Stewart's No. 14 car, eight to nine for Newman's No. 39 car and three for Patrick's No. 10 car.

"There has been a lot of added cost this year to owners and a lot of parts are a lot more expensive than in the past to put on the cars," Stewart said referring to the new Gen 6. "But racers are very resourceful and we and these teams will find a way to make it work.

"It's no different than any other business, you have a budget available and you put it to use. It is the thing teams do every year whether the finances or good or bad, (teams) always do that."

SHR's situation isn't a unique one, though, as many prominent teams in the garage still have available inventory for 2013 even with the Daytona 500 just 31 days away.

One such team is Hendrick Motorsports, where the organization is surprisingly still trying to fill a void on the side of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 machine after Mountain Dew scaled back from roughly half a schedule of races last year to just a select few this season.

And this follows a trend from a year ago when Richard Childress Racing and Roush Fenway Racing each had to shutter one of its teams due to a lack of funding.

Yet in spite of the current need for more sponsorship dollars, Stewart says the organization is still optimistic about adding a fourth car for 2014. And that the team is considering expanding stems from the impending arrival of Kevin Harvick, whose current team owner, Richard Childress, confirmed Monday night that Harvick would be leaving at the end of the year to join SHR.

"We're working at it, I don't know whether it's going to happen or not," Stewart said about adding another car. "It's our goal and every team is trying to secure sponsorship, so we just keep working at it."

For now, Stewart, the team owner, is more focused on the competition side of things rather than the business side and is leaving the hunt to find further sponsorship to others. And even though his team has space available, he's confident with where SHR is at and that further sponsorship will be found.

"There are a lot of (companies) have expressed interest -- the interest is still there -- it's just that a lot of (companies) aren't financially able to do what they want to do. If the interest wasn't there I would be a little more concerned, but the companies that have expressed interest and have had talks with, still have a lot of interest."

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