NASCAR: What The Loss Of Nature’s Bakery Means For SHR

Stewart-Haas Racing filed a suit this week against Nature’s Bakery for failure to pay 15 million as agreed upon in their sponsorship agreement. On January 19th, Nature’s Bakery officially terminated their sponsorship with the team, so where does this leave Stewart-Haas Racing and Danica Patrick in NASCAR?

With Nature’s Bakery suddenly gone, Stewart-Haas Racing suddenly loses 25 primary races of sponsorship and now must work double extra hard to try to find a new primary sponsor for their No. 10 team. Clint Bowyer was struggling to secure sponsorship on his No. 14 Ford for the season. The teams other two drivers, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch at fully sponsored, although, Gene Haas, has his own company on the No. 41 Ford of Kurt Busch, along with Monster Energy.

Patrick, 34, only has Aspen Dental (4 races), Code 3 Associates (3 Races), TaxAct (3 Races), Mobil 1 (Unknown) as sponsors for the upcoming season, so it would seem that unless a sponsor could be found, Haas Automation would step up and fill that void. But that raises another question. Would Gene Haas want to potentially sponsor 3 race cars, a Formula 1 team, and a NASCAR team.

The answer here is, no.

Code 3 Associates transitioned from the No. 14 to the No. 10 this year for 3 races which helps the No. 10 team, but hurts the No. 14 team. As mentioned earlier, the No. 14 only has Mobil 1 and Rush Truck Centers as sponsors for a few races this season. Bowyer’s longtime sponsor, 5-Hour Energy did not come with him to Stewart-Haas Racing due to issues with SHR’s existing sponsorship with Monster Energy. The No. 14 will need sponsors, and will likely pickup a few along the way with Bowyer being a marketable driver.

It’s a no, because while Gene Haas has the resources and enough to be able to sponsor and run all of these teams and cars, he just does not want to nor does Tony Stewart, the other half of Stewart-Haas Racing want him to. the No. 10 car is sponsored for at least 10 races this year, and if worse comes to worse Haas Automation would sponsor a few races until the team can find a replacement sponsor to cover the 25 race void left by Nature’s Bakery.

This leaves Danica Patrick at a precarious place in her NASCAR career. She is one of the most popular drivers in NASCAR, but has only been able to collect a few top tens in her career. The highlight may have come at the start of the 2013 season when Patrick won the Daytona 500 pole and finished 7th in the race. Patrick wanted to start a family and with 2018 being her last year under contract maybe Stewart-Haas Racing and Patrick work out a deal to let her out a year early. . That time may be now with all the things going on in her career, but only her and those surrounding her know that.

The image of the lawsuit cannot be a bright spot for SHR either. While it is not SHR breaching their end of the contract, they certainly are apart of the contract and the whole ordeal therefore it cannot be a bright spot for the company. However, unfortunately, these things do happen in professional sports and they will work themselves out in the court of law as Stewart-Haas Racing stated.