Being a crew chief and being around racing as long as I have, I’ve seen a lot of sponsors come and go.
I know this to be true that even though you have success, a lot of times, sponsors find it necessary to either pull back, relocate or just go away.
There’s always a challenge going on, trying to increase sponsorship dollars and maintain sponsorship dollars. Does it bother you when you’re on a team and you see this occurring? Absolutely.
When sponsors are moving around and you’re worried about whether you’re going to have a good enough sponsor to maintain the level of competitiveness that you need, it’s always a nervous time. I think it’s going to be the same way with Stewart-Haas Racing, which confirmed last weekend that Office Depot is not returning in its role as a co-primary sponsor for Tony Stewart in 2013.
I’ve heard it said in a lot of commentary that this is a sign of the times because of the economic situation in our country, and I know that’s 100 percent true. But, we as racers, we improvise. We’re always trying to come up with the right combination to make the dollar stretch and think of different ideas to make it add up.
If it takes three to equal the one that you had, well, then you come up with three sponsors that want to be involved. It’s an ongoing challenge, and I don’t think there’s a reason to push the panic button.
We knew that the Army was feeling a lot of pressure by government officials not to be involved in the sport, just like the National Guard. Unfortunately, Army went one way, and the National Guard decided to stay.
It’s a concern, but it’s not the end of the world. I feel very confident by the time Stewart rolls into Daytona, he will have the necessary support to compete not only with the 14 but also with his other teams. We know Danica Patrick has strong sponsorship.
They are in the enviable position of having two successful operations. Stewart has three wins, Ryan Newman has one. That’s a great asset to have, plus the two drivers that are there.
I feel the sponsorship situation is a concern, but it’s not an emergency.