NASCAR Cup: Danica Patrick sponsorship may not be as solid as previously thought
Danica Patrick (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)
By AMANDA VINCENT
Unexpected sponsor issues for Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, came to public light Tuesday during the yearly Media Tour in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday when Patrick showed up for publicity shots wearing her Tax Act firesuit, even though Nature’s Bakery is supposed to be her biggest primary sponsor.
Nature’s Baker signed a sponsorship deal with Stewart-Haas Racing to serve as Patrick’s primary sponsor for the bulk of Cup Series races for three years, beginning with the 2016 season. The company was on the hood of Patrick’s No. 10 for 28 races last year. But on Tuesday, SHR officials said both the race team and Nature’s Baker have options and the two entities are discussing those options.
Stewart-Haas Racing, though, says it’s committed to fielding all four of its Cup entries (Patrick’s No. 10, the No. 4 for 2014 series champion Kevin Harvick, the No. 14 for Clint Bowyer and the No. 41 of 2004 champion Kurt Busch) and fielding a full-time Xfinity Series entry for Cole Custer and a second Xfinity entry on at least a part-time basis.
“Stewart-Haas Racing remains focused on its preparation for the 2017 NASCAR season where it will, again, field four entries in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, while also introducing a full-time NASCAR Xfinity team,” a statement from SHR read.
Patrick has competed in the Cup Series since 2012, running full-time since 2013, with all her Cup-level efforts coming from behind the wheel of a Stewart-Haas Racing entry. In 154-career starts, she has six-career top-10 finishes. She has yet to finish a Cup race in the top-five.