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Tony Stewart's team loses key sponsor

Tony Stewart has lost the primary sponsor on the #14 Stewart/Haas Racing car after the end of the current season, with retail chain Office Depot deciding to "significantly curtail" its role.
Reigning champion Tony Stewart may be set to make it into the Chase after next weekend's race at Richmond, but his headaches off the track are mounting as the Stewart/Haas Racing team has lost a second major sponsor.

The US Army had previously announced at the start of July that it would no longer be a primary sponsor on the #39 car driven by Ryan Newman, leaving the team scrambling to find alternative funding to keep that team in business into 2013. (See separate story.)

Now the economic gloom has hit closer to home, with the primary sponsor of Stewart's own #14 car calling it a day. Office Depot provided the running for 22 of the team's 36 Sprint Cup race outings this season, but is not renewing the deal for 2013.

"Office Depot has notified SHR that they will not be renewing as the primary sponsor of the #14 team," said Stewart/Haas spokesman Mike Arning.

"The decision to significantly curtail our relationship with Stewart-Haas Racing was very difficult and one that we did not take lightly," confirmed Office Depot's senior director of communications Mindy Kramer at the weekend. "Tony Stewart has been an exceptional ambassador for our brand, and he has gone above and beyond in everything that he has done for our company. Being a part of his legendary 2011 championship run was a moment of tremendous pride for everyone at Office Depot."

"However, the changing business landscape warrants a realignment of priorities and resources," she added, alluding to a significant downturn in the chain's business over the last two years in the current harsh economic climate, which is putting pressure on their bottom line.

Office Depot may still be involved in a minor way with the team, with Stewart/Haas' Arning insisting that the team was in "continued discussions with Office Depot regarding possible future roles the company could have with the team."

"Regardless of what kind of role we'll have with Tony and SHR, our support for them will not change," insisted Kramer. "The Office Depot family will always be with Smoke, cheering him on to many more championships."

The timing is particularly problematic for the team, coming so late in the current season leaving them little time to find a replacement for the start of 2013.




Related Pictures

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Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, poses with his pole award after he qualified first during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Aug. 31, 2012, in Hampton, Ga. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, poses with his pole award after he qualified first during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Aug. 31, 2012, in Hampton, Ga. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)
Tony Stewart signals two wins for the young 2012 season in post-race ceremonies after winning the rain-shortened Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing Team battled back from a bad re-start after the first caution of the race to finish 17th in the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Campbell Marketing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fourth position Friday, November 20, 2015 Sunday`s final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
(From left) Driver Ryan Blaney, Ford Board Member Edsel B. Ford II, Director of Ford Performance Dave Pericak, Len Wood and Eddie Wood after announcing that Wood Brothers Racing would run a full-time schedule in 2016. (Picture Credit: Campbell Marketing)
Daniel Suarez, driver of the #51 ARRIS Toyota, leads Ryan Blaney, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Careers for Veterans Ford, during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino 350 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 6, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 DeWalt Toyota, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CampingWorld.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 23, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 3M Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet, lead the field during the pace laps prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CampingWorld.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 25, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Hormel/Menards Toyota, and John Wes Townley, driver of the #05 Zaxby`s Chevrolet, lead a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series fred`s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 24, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, races to a sixth place finish with Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS who finished in eleventh place Sunday, October 18, 2015 in the second round of the Contender 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. Busch and Newman will join four other Chevy drivers to compete in the final round of Contender 12 next weekend at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama.  (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, qualifies for tenth position Thursday, October 8, 2015 for Saturday`s first phase of the Contender 12 round of the Chase in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. Newman joins five other Chevy drivers competing in the Contender 12.  (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout in front of his crew after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on October 4, 2015 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, and Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 ARRIS Toyota, pit during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on October 4, 2015 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, and Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, lead the field to the green flag for the running of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 200 at Dover International Speedway on October 3, 2015 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Clint Bowyer speaks with the media as Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet and co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, looks on during a press conference announcing the retirement of Stewart on September 30, 2015 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Stewart has decided his 18th year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be his last. The three-time series champion will retire following the 2016 season, whereupon Clint Bowyer will take the wheel of the No. 14 machine beginning in 2017. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Stewart-Haas Racing via Getty Images)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, finishes in eighth place with Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1(11th place) Sunday, September 27, 2015 in the second round of the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Truex, Jr. will join eight other Chevy drivers in the last phase of Challenger 16 which continues next week at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, races to a tenth place finish with Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS who finished in seventh place Sunday, September 27, 2015 in the second round of the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Newman and Gordon will join seven other Chevy drivers in the last phase of Challenger 16 which continues next week at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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