Briefs: US Army exits; son for Harvick; Kansas for Patrick
10 July 2012
US Army ends Stewart/Haas Racing sponsorship
The US Army has formally announced that it will no longer be involved in sponsoring Stewart/Haas Racing in 2013.
The decision comes after a key budget committee of the US House of Representatives added an amendment to a defence funding bill in May which said that "None of the funds made available in this act may be used to sponsor professional or semi-professional motorsports, fishing, wrestling or other sports." The amendment is still to be formally voted on by the House and Senate and enacted into law.
Ryan Newman's #39 car has had US Army backing for the past four seasons, and the Army has supported NASCAR teams for the last ten years in total. The bill may also mean an end to the National Guard sponsorship of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 car, in which case teams in other motor racing series - including JR Hildebrand's IZOD IndyCar Series National Guard-backed Panther Racing entry - will be similarly affected.
"The US Army has worked with Stewart-Haas Racing in a mutually beneficial and highly successful relationship for the past four seasons, and they've performed superbly as our partner on and off the track," said John Myers, a director of the Army Marketing group.
Stewart/Haas Racing will now have to find a new big-money sponsor if the #39 is to continue running in 2013, no easy task in the current strained economic environment. Hendrick Motorsports has made no comment regarding the position of their #88 car.
Harvicks welcome first child
Kevin Harvick may not have had much luck in Saturday night's race at Daytona, but Sunday was a totally different matter as his wife DeLana gave birth to the couple's first child, a son weighing 6.8lbs who has been named Keelan Paul Harvick.
"Time literally stood still when I held our baby for the first time," said Harvick. "I've accomplished a lot in my life that I'm proud of, but those moments don't hold a candle to becoming a father and seeing that little face looking up at you."
By coincidence, another member of the NASCAR paddock was also celebrating a new arrival, as Darian Grubb's wife Yolanda gave birth to their second child, daughter Yolanda.
Grubb is currently Denny Hamlin's crew chief, after he was fired at the end of last season by Stewart/Haas Racing despite engineering Tony Stewart's Sprint Cup-winning campaign in 2011.
Patrick to run at Kansas
Danica Patrick confirmed that her last 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will be at Kansas on October 21.
Patrick had previously announced that she would run in ten Cup races this season while competing full-time in the Nationwide Series. The selection of the tenth race had not been confirmed until Tuesday.
The choice was influenced by the fact that Kansas is currently being repaved, which will mean that all Cup drivers get additional testing time on the Thursday ahead of the race weekend, which will help Patrick get more experience in the Cup car.
"That extra day of testing will be huge for her. With the amount of 1.5-mile ovals on the schedule, it made sense to have her compete at Kansas to better prepare her for 2013," said Stewart/Haas Racing's competition director Greg Zipadelli, who also acts as Patrick's crew chief in the Cup series.
“I've always liked racing at Kansas Speedway,” said Patrick. “I think the extra day of testing will be very beneficial, not only to prepare for the race weekend, but to learn for the rest of 2012 and looking ahead to 2013 with Stewart-Haas Racing. The more track time I can get, the better
Max Gresham exits Joe Denette Motorsports
Driver NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Max Gresham is to leave the Joe Denette Motorsports team, after just eight outings together in the #24 truck yielded disappointing results and only 20th place in the championship standings.
"I know everyone expected to do better than that," said Gresham, the 2011 K&N Pro Series East champion. "Everybody did their best this year. Unfortunately, we just didn't have the results to show for it."
"Obviously, we hate to see Max go," said team owner Joe Denette, praising Gresham's "natural talent and friendly personality" but adding: "Unfortunately, Joe Denette Motorsports was not the right fit for him. We wish Max the best of luck in the future."
Ron Hornaday Jr. will continue to drive the team's #9 Chevrolet entry.