Stewart's other primary backer for the remaining 14 Sprint Cup races, Mobil 1, recently confirmed an extension of its existing contract and will still be with the team next year.
The team had been hoping to expand to a three-car line-up in 2013 with Danica Patrick expected to step up from Nationwide to a full-time presence in Sprint Cup after getting her feet wet with 10 Cup races this season. Patrick brings her own sponsorship backing for the #10 from long-time supporters GoDaddy.com.
However, with both Stewart and Newman now with big gaps in their financial backing it's looking increasingly likely that the team will have only be able to afford one of them to run alongside Patrick. And with Stewart the proven champion and moreover the co-owner of the team with Carl Haas, it's looking increasingly unlikely that Ryan Newman might be without a race seat next season after missing this year's Chase.
Stewart said that he was "praying" that he could still field three cars in 2013, while Arning added the sales pitch to any sponsors who might be listening
"When a brand partners with Stewart and the #14 team, they also get access to Ryan Newman and Danica Patrick, as well as a presence at Eldora Speedway and primary sponsorship on the Sprint Cars and dirt Late Models that Stewart runs for fun," Arning pointed out. "Stewart has won nine of these kinds of races so far this year, including two in the elite World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. He also won Denny Hamlin's Late Model charity race at Richmond in April."
It's a great stall the team is laying out. The worry is that if there's no takers for someone of Stewart's obvious appeal and success in the sport, what's going to happen to other teams over the coming months and years as more and more deals come up for reconsideration?