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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)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fourth position Saturday, July 25, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Stewart is 26th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Christopher Bell, driver of the #54 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota, celebrates with Eldora track owner Tony Stewart after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 1-800-CAR-CASH Mud Summer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 22, 2015 in Rossburg, Ohio (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Christopher Bell, driver of the #54 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 1-800-CAR-CASH Mud Summer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 22, 2015 in Rossburg, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Christopher Bell, driver of the #54 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 1-800-CAR-CASH Mud Summer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 22, 2015 in Rossburg, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Christopher Bell, driver of the #54 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 1-800-CAR-CASH Mud Summer Classic, at Eldora Speedway on July 22, 2015 in Rossburg, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Christopher Bell, driver of the #54 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota, gets the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 1-800-CAR-CASH Mud Summer Classic, at Eldora Speedway on July 22, 2015 in Rossburg, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Christopher Bell, driver of the #54 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota, does a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 1-800-CAR-CASH Mud Summer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 22, 2015 in Rossburg, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Christopher Bell, driver of the #54 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota, leads the field during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 1-800-CAR-CASH Mud Summer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 22, 2015 in Rossburg, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota, lead the field to a restart during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts at Kentucky Speedway on July 11, 2015 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Rush Truck Centers Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts at Kentucky Speedway on July 10, 2015 in Sparta, Kentucky.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, walks through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 3, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 26, 2015 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #9 Jacob Companies Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 26, 2015 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 26, 2015 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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