The sponsorship news has not been good in NASCAR this year, and it promises to get worse in 2018.
Friday brought bad news all around.
It’s already gotten worse for Stewart-Haas Racing — and the news it tied to Danica Patrick.
Patrick has admitted that she won’t be back with SHR in 2018 if she can’t find a sponsor. But now, the Sports Business Journal, in a series of tweets, has reported that if Patrick isn’t back, SHR could lose one of its major sponsors — Aspen Dental.
And, Aspen Dental has admitted it’s looking around:
The statement read: We enjoy our involvement in racing and how it allows us to connect on a more personal level with patients and consumers in general who love the sports. Having said that, I don’t think there are any sponsors that don’t continually evaluate any and all of their investments to be certain they are still the most meaningful way to connect to consumers. We do that every year — and this year is no different.
Aspen Dental is the primary sponsor of the No. 10 Ford Fusion that Patrick drives, and is clearly concerned she may not return.
This would be a double blow to SHR. Replacing Patrick with a better racer is the easy part; replacing her with a better ambassador is the hard part. This all gets that much trickier with SHR on the verge of losing another major sponsor.
Remember, the team already lost Nature’s Bakery, Patrick’s former primary sponsor, during a legal dispute. SHR might be a powerhouse, but losing two main sponsors would be a real blow.