Aspen Dental steps up to fill gap in Danica Patrick’s sponsorship

The good news for Danica Patrick and Stewart-Haas Racing is they didn’t need to wait long to find a replacement for her former sponsor, Nature’s Bakery.

SHR announced Tuesday morning that Aspen Dental will be Patrick’s primary sponsor for “a double-digit” slate of races in 2017.

Aspen Dental will be on Patrick’s No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Fusion for the Daytona 500 and an unspecified number of races beyond that.

“Our commitment to Danica Patrick goes back almost four years and our relationship with SHR even further,” said Bob Fontana, chairman and CEO of Aspen Dental Management Inc., in a statement released by the team.

“She is a strong advocate for the Aspen Dental brand and a wonderful ambassador for programs like the Healthy Mouth Movement,” Fontana said. “Danica and Stewart-Haas Racing have encouraged fans to get started on the road to better oral health care while showcasing how Aspen Dental practices make it easy for them. We look forward to our enhanced partnership.”

Patrick needed a new primary sponsor after the deal between SHR and Nature’s Bakery flamed out after just one season.

SHR sued Nature’s Bakery for $31.7 million earlier this month after the Nevada-based maker of fig bars and brownies pulled out of its sponsorship deal after just one year.

Nevada-based Nature’s Bakery was Patrick’s main primary sponsor in 2016 and was scheduled to be on Patrick’s No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford for at least 20 races again this year and again in 2018.

“Nature’s Bakery is in material breach of its contract with Stewart-Haas Racing. It is an unfortunate situation, as the team has delivered on all aspects of its contract and was prepared to do so again in 2017,” SHR said in a statement issued after the suit was filed. “Ultimately, this is a situation that will be resolved in a court of law.”

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