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Could we see a Hendrick Motorsports – National Guard contract dispute?

One would think that if there’s a contract between two people, businesses, organizations, etc., there’d be an expiration date on said contract that would be known to both parties. Apparently, that’s not the case when it comes to the sponsorship agreement between the National Guard and Hendrick Motorsports when it comes to the Guard’s sponsorship of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Word got out on Wednesday that the National Guard plans to get out of the business of race team sponsorship at the end of 2014, and that includes sponsorship of Earnhardt’s No. 88, as well as the Verizon IndyCar Series entry of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, driven by Graham Rahal. There doesn’t seem to be an issue, or should I say question, as to the expiration of the Guard’s contract with Rahal’s team. Looks like there’s going to be a clearn break there.

There does seem to be an issue, however, with the National Guard cutting ties with Hendrick Motorsport’s come year’s end, though, if team owner Rick Hendrick is correct about when his contract with the National Guard expires.

According to Hendrick, his contract doesn’t end until after the 2015 race season, and apparently, he fully expects the Guard to honor its commitment to his organization.

“We have not been approached by the Guard about potential changes and plan to honor our current agreement,” a recent statement from Hendrick Motorsports read.

According to a statement released by the National Guard, though, the contracts it has with both Hendrick Motorsports and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing are “set to expire at the end of the current season.”

Okay, who has their facts straight, here?

I’m sure the contract states an end date somewhere. Does this mean that one of the parties doesn’t know the length of the contract? I find that hard to believe. Is the US Government going to try to strong-arm Hendrick into letting it out of the contract a year early?

Is that what’s going on here? Or is it just an oversight.

Not to say that Hendrick isn’t a busy man, but he has nowhere near the number of contracts to keep up with as the Federal Government. In addition, I also doubt that he would believe he could trick the Fed into paying out an extra year of sponsorship.

The government, on the other hand, I’m not so sure about. Sometimes I trust the Federal Government about as much as I trust politicians, and that’s not much. Hey, I live in Kentucky, home base for the heated US Senate race between Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes. If you haven’t heard about it, you’re lucky. Wish I could say the same. At this point, I’m not sure exactly what McConnell’s job is or exactly what Grimes’ position is on coal.

Anyway, back to Hendrick Motorsports and the National Guard. Maybe the contract isn’t up until next year, and maybe this is just the Guard’s sneaky way of trying to get out of one more year of writing Hendrick a multi-million dollar check.

Maybe it’s government oversight. Maybe someone somewhere just assumed that both the Hendrick and Rahal contracts ended at the same time. Maybe someone involved in this on the Guard side is as competent at his/her job as the team assembled to create that healthcare.gov website. Remember how smoothly that went (sarcasm)?

Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have gone there. Without seeing the contract, itself (like that’s going to happen) I probably shouldn’t assume which side is wrong and which side is right. But, for whatever reason, I see this one getting ugly, especially if Hendrick is right and the contract clearly states an expiration of late 2015. He’s probably not going to go down without a fight.

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook: NASCAR Examiner.

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Posted by on August 7, 2014. Filed under Blog by Amanda Vincent,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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