- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 7, 2014

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is losing the National Guard as a sponsor due to budgeting cuts.

“Significantly constrained resources and the likelihood of further reductions in the future call for more innovative and cost-effective ways of doing business,” said Maj. Gen. Judd H. Lyons, acting director of the Army National Guard in a statement.

The decision to end its sponsorship will also apply to the IndyCar program of Graham Rahal, NASCAR.com reported Thursday.

“As part of a broad recruitment marketing strategy, motor sports partnerships — including NASCAR — played an important role in helping the National Guard build strong brand awareness and in turn helped us achieve extraordinary recruiting and end-strength objectives over the past decade,” Lt. Col. Christian Johnson, who heads Army Guard marketing, said in the statement, as reported Thursday by Sporting News.

The Guard has been the famous driver’s primary sponsor for 20 races. Mr. Earnhardt has had contracts with the Guard since 2008.

Hendricks Motorsports released a statement Wednesday night saying that it has a contract for 2015, Sporting News reported.

“Our team has a contract in place to continue the National Guard program at its current level in 2015,” the HMS statement said. “We have not been approached by the Guard about potential changes and plan to honor our current agreement.”

The Guard’s advertising budget for 2014 is $120 million, the sports website reported.

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