It has been announced that National Guard will be ending its sponsorship of Dale Earnhardt Jr, the NASCAR driver as well as Graham Rahal the Indycar driver.
There has been nothing said as to when this will go in to effect and Hendrick Motorsports have said that they have a contract which will run through until 2015. They said that they have not been contacted about this and they will honour the current agreement.
The National Guard has put a statement on its website which says that it spent $32 million on NASCAR sponsorship and $12 million on Indycar sponsorship this year. They explained that they have built good brand awareness through sports sponsorship but that their contracts are due to expire at the end of the current season. It went on to say that constrained resources will mean that they will have to be more cost effective in the future.
There has been criticism of the military paying for sports sponsorship in the past as it is so expensive and the guard did say that other sports sponsorship will also be reduced.
The guard has been a sponsor of Earnhardt since 2008 which was the year that he joined Hendrick Motorsports. He is one of the most popular NASCAR drivers and has won three races this year including one on Sunday and he also won the Sprint Cup Championships in 2012. On Sunday he had the sponsors names on his car and uniform as his primary sponsor.
The sponsorship for Rahal in the Indycar racing sector was rather more complicated as Panther Racing has it from 2008-2013 although late last year it went to RLL and eventually it was awarded to Rahal after and appeal to the Us Government Accountability Office.