Army Guard to end NASCAR sponsorship of Dale Earnhardt Jr.

DOVER, DE - MAY 30:  Dale Earnhardt Jr. drives the #88 National Guard Chevrolet during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on May 30, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
DOVER, DE – MAY 30: Dale Earnhardt Jr. drives the #88 National Guard Chevrolet during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on May 30, 2014 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

NASCAR’s most popular driver may be having a great year on the track winning three races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series including the latest one this past Sunday at Pocono Raceway, but his Hendrick Motorsports team received some bad news Wednesday. The Army National Guard released a statement saying that after “undergoing an intensive internal review” the Army National Guard will make changes to its sports sponsorship approach to recruitment marketing. These substantial changes include an end to its sponsorship of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Graham Rahal in the Indy Racing League (IRL).

While the statement wasn’t clear as to when the sponsorship will end, a statement from Hendrick Motorsports via email late Wednesday night said the team had not been notified yet and the contract is through 2015:

“Our team has a contract in place to continue the National Guard program at its current level in 2015. We have not been approached by the Guard about potential changes and plan to honor our current agreement.”

The statement from the Army Guard said it spent $32 million on its NASCAR sponsorship and $12 million on its IndyCar sponsorship for 2014. Future programs will rely on much smaller budgets.MORE>>>

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.