Wednesday, July 11, 2012

US Army Pursues Exit Strategy from NASCAR after 2012

Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR

Wednesday afternoon, I caught a report on television news channel CNN where the US Army officially indicated the they will no longer sponsor the #39 Ryan Newman driven Chevrolet Impala for Stewart-Haas Racing. The new item follow-up on a report made on Tuesday by Associated Press Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. 

While United States government budget tightening on armed forces could be cited as one reason for the funding pullback, reports have also indicated that the US Army have no longer found NASCAR Sprint Cup racing events as an effective recruiting venue as crowds reflect an older-skewing demographic. One of several branches of the United States military who have used the rolling billboards of NASCAR to lure attention for drawing potential recruits, the advertising strategy itself comes with criticism for the use of taxpayers' money in vast campaigns.

The discontinuation of sponsorship in NASCAR Sprint Cup will not mean a full departure from motorsports. As younger crowds continue to turn out for NHRA drag racing events, the US Army is expected to remain integral in that form of auto racing. Several other armed forced branches (such as the National Guard that sponsors the popular #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr) have not indicated directly if they will be following suit of the US Army.

The US Army's recent stint in sponsoring NASCAR competition started in 2003 when the armed forces name and colours rode on the #01 car for MB2 Motorsports. As MB2 Motorsports became Ginn Racing and later merged with Dale Earnhardt Incorporated, Jerry Nadeau, Joe Nemechek, Mark Martin and Aric Almirola all piloted the US Army-sponsored car. In 2009, a team involving Tony Stewart's ownership pouched the sponsorship in order to ride multiple races on a #39 Chevrolet driven by Ryan Newman.

The pending departure of the US Army comes as the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series turns attention to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway where the #39 Stewart-Haas Racing driver Ryan Newman won last year for the armed forces sponsorship.

No comments:

Post a Comment