The Army National Guard is coming back to NASCAR for another season.
Hendrick Motorsports announced Friday that the military group has extended its relationship as a primary sponsor on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 through the 2013 season.
The National Guard will have primary paint schemes for 20 Sprint Cup races, including the 2013 Daytona 500, and prominent brand placement during all non-primary events.
“National Guard Citizen Soldiers represent the more than 3,200 communities across the United States in which they live, work and serve their state and the nation,” said Lt. Col. Michael Wegner, marketing branch chief, Army National Guard. “What NASCAR gives us is a national marketing platform that also can be leveraged at that local level, touching recruiters, potential recruits and influencers. With our all-volunteer military and rigorous enlistment standards, it plays a key role in increasing the awareness of what the Guard does and the many career opportunities and benefits it offers.”
Hendrick and the National Guard joined forces for the 2007 season with the No. 25 Sprint Cup team. The Guard’s most recent contract, which included 18 primary paint schemes per year with the No. 88 team of Earnhardt Jr., was set to expire at the end of 2012.
“It’s an honor to be associated with the National Guard and its Citizen Soldiers,” said team owner Rick Hendrick “Like many of the world’s most innovative marketers and leading brands, the Guard sees the opportunities that our sport presents, and they have built a strong effort around it. As we go into 2013 together, we’ll continue to focus on the performance of the program both on and off the racetrack.”
Earnhardt Jr. is currently fourth in the points standings with one win this season.
“Working with the Guard has been incredible,” said Earnhardt, 37, who most recently won June 17 at Brooklyn, Mich., where the Sprint Cup Series returns this weekend. “On a weekly basis, we’re interacting with people considering a life-changing decision (to enlist) or who are already serving our country. Their sacrifices are difficult to comprehend, and we feel a lot of pride representing them and seeing first-hand how passionate they are about NASCAR and our team.”
Additional sponsorship for the No. 88 Chevrolet will be announced at a later date, according to a release.