The US Army decision to withdraw sponsorship could put Ryan Newman's return to SHR next year in question. (Getty Images Photo)
The U.S. Army announced it will no longer sponsor Ryan Newman's Sprint Cup entry at Stewart-Haas Racing or continue a presence in NASCAR after this season.
The team released a statement Tuesday announcing the U.S. Army made the decision as part of a reallocation of its marketing budget.
“The U.S. Army has been a great partner of Stewart-Haas Racing since the team's inception. It has been a mutually beneficial relationship, with the U.S. Army introducing training regimens that improved our pit crews while instilling the mental, physical and emotional strength of the U.S. Army Soldier in all of us. We remain very proud of our representation of the U.S. Army and its brave Soldiers who are 100 percent committed to our country. We will continue to activate on behalf of the U.S. Army for the rest of 2012, while also growing our other dynamic partnerships at Stewart-Haas Racing for the future," said
The Army has been in NASCAR for 10 seasons, and at one point was a primary sponsor. It moved to SHR to sponsor Ryan Newman in 2009 when the team was formed.
"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.
Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota and Rep. Jackson Kingston of Georgia are pushing an amendment that would prohibit military sponsorship of sports including NASCAR.
McCollum lost a House vote a year ago to end military sponsorships of NASCAR, professional wrestling and fishing, but is trying again to have the approximately $80 million in sponsorship cut from the defense budget.
McCollum applauded the Army's decision to pull out of NASCAR.
"The Army made the right move to eliminate a wasteful program and protect taxpayer dollars - which has been my goal all along," she said. "Congress is facing a very difficult budget environment, and I want taxpayer dollars protected, even at the Pentagon.
"I will continue to work to save taxpayer dollars by ending all of the Pentagon's multi-million dollar professional sports sponsorships of motor racing, bass fishing and ultimate fighting."
The loss of the Army sponsorship puts SHR in the challenging position of replacing nearly half a season of lost sponsorship dollars. It also comes at a time when Newman's contract expires at season's end.
While team officials have said recently the intent is to bring Newman back with a contract extension it remains to be seen how the Army decision may impact the organization's ability to keep the No. 39 entry on track next year as a teammate to Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick, who is expected to run the entire Sprint Cup Series season in 2013.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)