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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)
Brian Vickers, driver of the #14 Janssen Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation Chevrolet SS, finishes in seventh place, Sunday April 3, 2016, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, VA (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, celebrates with his crew chief, Tony Gibson, after capturing the pole position Friday, March 4, 2016 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. Busch set a track record with a fast lap of 196.328 mph. This was his second pole position this season. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch/Jimmy John`s Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet SS makes a pit stop Sunday, February 21, 2016 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Harvick finished 4th in the race. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch/Jimmy John`s Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet SS and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet SS race Sunday, February 21, 2016 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Harvick finished 4th and Dillon finished 9th. (Photo by Andrew Coppley for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Can-Am Duels at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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(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)
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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)

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