Nature’s Bakery responds to Stewart-Haas Racing lawsuit

Nature’s Bakery has filed court documents claiming that driver Danica Patrick endorsed a rival product and the company did not get the return it expected from sponsoring Patrick’s No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing NASCAR team last year.

SHR filed a $31.7 breach of contract suit against Nature’s Bakery last month after the Reno, Nevada-based company refused to pay its sponsorship fee for 2017.

Nature’s Bakery was expected to be the primary sponsor of Patrick’s car for about 25 races. In its absence, Aspen Dental has stepped up to sponsor Patrick for at least 10 races, but the team still has unsold inventory for the No. 10.

In a counterclaim filed Friday in North Carolina Superior Court, the fig-bar maker said Patrick endorsed a rival company called Six Star Pro Nutrition.

“It was as if Michael Jordan decided to wear Adidas while being paid by Nike,” Nature’s Bakery said in its filing.

Patrick denied the charge.

“I did not promote rival products,” Patrick said at the beginning of Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. “I always do my very best to bring return on investment to all of my partners, and so all I can say is I did my best to promote them authentically and truthfully.”

Nature’s Bakery also alleged it did not get the expected return on its sponsorship.

“Nature’s Bakery required significantly more support and guidance than SHR was providing, and the brand failed to realize any of the promised return on its investment,” the counterclaim stated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.