Skip to content

NASCAR: Dale Earnhardt Jr. reacts to loss of National Guard sponsorship

Aug 8, 2014, 1:45 PM EST

Dale Earnhardt Jr. AP

Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s emergence as a threat for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship was not enough to prevent the National Guard from announcing that it would drop its sponsorships of both him and IndyCar driver Graham Rahal at the end of the year.

Today at Watkins Glen, Earnhardt said that he didn’t really have any details on the matter: “That’s between the Guard and (Hendrick Motorsports) to sort all that out,” he said.

“Really enjoyed working with them over the last seven years and hope to be able to continue to represent them. It’s a huge honor.’’

In a statement released Wednesday night, HMS said that it had a contract in place with the Guard through 2015 while adding that it hadn’t been approached by the Guard about future changes to that pact.

HMS and Earnhardt have enjoyed the backing of the Guard since the 2008 season, when Earnhardt moved to the team from Dale Earnhardt Inc.

With the Guard’s departure, HMS now has to sell the 20 races that it covered on Earnhardt’s No. 88 car; right now, Nationwide Insurance (12 races), PepsiCo (five races), and Kelley Blue Book (one race) are set to be featured on the car in 2015.

The Guard’s acting director, Maj. Gen. Judd H. Lyons said in a Wednesday statement that “significantly constrained resources and the likelihood of further reductions in the future” helped lead to the decision to abandon its motorsports sponsorships.

This year, the Guard is spending more than $40 million on the combined programs for Earnhardt and Rahal (Earnhardt’s drew $32 million, while Rahal’s drew $12 million).

In additional comments, Earnhardt acknowledged the ongoing debate over military sponsorship in sports but insisted that the Guard’s program has been “very, very effective” in regards to recruiting and brand awareness.

The Guard’s decision to leave motorsports has drawn mixed reactions from fans and also from politicians on Capitol Hill.

In a statement, Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) – who questioned the value of the Guard’s sports marketing efforts in a Senate subcommittee meeting in May – said that while she loved NASCAR and the Guard, “spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on a recruitment program that signed up zero recruits, and that has been abandoned by other service branches as ineffective, just makes no sense.”

On the other side, Sen. Kay Hagan (N.C.) relayed her disappointment and defended the Guard’s NASCAR program.

“…With a strong fan base of 77 million men and women, this partnership with NASCAR has resulted in significant exposure for the Army National Guard that has strengthened recruitment and retention,” she said in a statement.

Latest Posts
  1. FR3.5: Facu Regalia signs with Zeta Corse for 2015

    Feb 28, 2015, 5:00 PM EST

    © GP2 Media Service © GP2 Media Service

    Argentinian driver confirms his plans for the new season after a difficult 2014 with Hilmer Motorsport.

  2. Barcelona F1 2nd Test Paddock Notebook – Saturday

    Feb 28, 2015, 4:00 PM EST

    Sainz 282a Getty Images

    A full round-up from the penultimate day of F1 pre-season testing in Barcelona.

  3. Vergne enjoys first Ferrari run-out in Adelaide show run

    Feb 28, 2015, 3:30 PM EST

    V8 Supercars Clipsal 500 - Race 1 & 2 Getty Images

    Frenchman joined the team as a test driver for the 2015 season.

  4. More birthdays: Aldo Andretti, Bourdais, Hawksworth, Bachelart, Minassian, Leitzinger, Liddell

    Feb 28, 2015, 3:11 PM EST

    BourdaisTOR12 AP

    Bourdais, Hawksworth, Aldo Andretti and more all have birthdays today, February 28.

  5. Hamilton: “It wasn’t a particularly spectacular day”

    Feb 28, 2015, 3:00 PM EST

    Hamilton 282a Getty Images

    Despite posting a time that, when adjusted to account for tire compounds, could be 1.4 seconds quicker than the rest of the field, the Briton was unenthused about his performance.

  6. UPDATED: #AirJosef: Newgarden dunks with Pacers Power Pack (VIDEO)

    Feb 28, 2015, 2:30 PM EST

    AirNewgy AP

    How well does Josef Newgarden dunk? Find out in video he does with Indiana Pacers “Power Pack.”

  7. Sainz Jr. boosted by productive day for Toro Rosso

    Feb 28, 2015, 2:30 PM EST

    Sainz 282 Getty Images

    Today was Sainz’s last run in the Toro Rosso before his F1 debut at the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

  8. Kevin Magnussen wanted Corvette Le Mans drive alongside his father, Jan

    Feb 28, 2015, 2:15 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Qualifying Getty Images

    Danish driver reveals he received the call to say he would not be racing in F1 very late, preventing him from securing a drive elsewhere in 2015.

  9. “Focus” light on IndyCar content, but oozes enough cool to enhance “cool factor”

    Feb 28, 2015, 2:00 PM EST

    FocusLede AP

    Is “Focus” IndyCar-focused? No. Is it cool to have IndyCar as a part of a Will Smith movie? Definitely.

  10. Massa positive after final winter testing run for Williams

    Feb 28, 2015, 1:30 PM EST

    F1 Testing In Barcelona - Day Three Getty Images

    Brazilian driver finishes second on day three of the final test in Barcelona, two-tenths of a second behind pace-setter Lewis Hamilton.

  11. Hulkenberg surprised by Force India mileage in Barcelona

    Feb 28, 2015, 1:00 PM EST

    Hulkenberg 282 Getty Images

    German driver completes 234 laps in just a day and a half in Barcelona as he continues to learn about the VJM08.

  12. Hamilton fastest as Mercedes impresses again on day three

    Feb 28, 2015, 12:02 PM EST

    Hamilton 282 Getty Images

    British driver finishes two-tenths of a second clear of Felipe Massa on the penultimate day of pre-season testing in Barcelona.

  13. Vettel left wanting more from Ferrari SF15-T in testing

    Feb 28, 2015, 11:00 AM EST

    F1 Testing In Barcelona - Day Two Getty Images

    Four-time world champion will get his final test run in the new Ferrari on Sunday ahead of his grand prix debut for the team next month.

  14. Button: 100 laps felt like 1,000 to McLaren on Friday

    Feb 28, 2015, 10:00 AM EST

    Button 282 Getty Images

    British driver delighted with breakthrough after a miserable winter testing programme.

  15. Happy 75th birthday to one of the best ever, Mario Andretti

    Feb 28, 2015, 9:00 AM EST

    Indianapolis 500 Parade Getty Images

    We wish Mario Andretti, one of the all-time greats, a happy 75th birthday.

  16. Manor Marussia “very close” to racing in Australian GP

    Feb 28, 2015, 8:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Russia - Qualifying Getty Images

    Team founder John Booth is confident that the revived outfit will race in the Australian Grand Prix on March 15.

  17. IndyCar: Drivers, stars appear in Indy, LA, Detroit, Milwaukee for “Focus” premiere (PHOTOS)

    Feb 27, 2015, 7:00 PM EST

    WillSmithFocus AP

    IndyCar drivers hit several race markets for “Focus” premieres.

  18. GP2: Nathanael Berthon returns with Lazarus for 2015

    Feb 27, 2015, 4:30 PM EST

    © GP3 Series © GP3 Series

    French driver set for a fourth season in GP2 this year with Lazarus.

  19. Barcelona F1 2nd Test Paddock Notebook – Friday

    Feb 27, 2015, 3:30 PM EST

    Vettel 272 Getty Images

    All of the latest news, reports and features from the paddock in Barcelona.