DEI Expects to Retain U.S. Army Sponsorship

Christopher LeoneSenior Analyst IJuly 6, 2008

Dale Earnhardt, Inc. President Max Siegel expects to retain the U.S. Army sponsorship for his team's No. 8 Chevrolets next season, saying the team is "fine."

Currently split by Mark Martin and Aric Almirola, the No. 8 will be manned by Almirola for the full 36-race schedule next season as Martin takes over the No. 5 Kellogg's/CarQuest Chevrolet at Hendrick Motorsports.

The U.S. Army, like all other government-controlled organizations that have started NASCAR sponsorship programs in the past, works on one-year contracts as yearly marketing budgets are adjusted. The Army has participated as a sponsor of the sport since the early 2000s with drivers Joe Nemechek and Jerry Nadeau.

Almirola, a young driver once part of Joe Gibbs Racing's development program, is seen around the garage as a top young talent. At the same time, multiple potential sponsors are interested in the young driver.

The fact that Almirola's presence bolsters NASCAR's Drive For Diversity campaign (Almirola is Hispanic), combined with his potential to win races and championships down the road, makes him attractive to many sponsors. Almirola, especially due to his age, fits the Army's target demographic well.

Siegel noted that little progress has been made in finding a sponsor for the No. 01 Chevrolet the team campaigns for driver Regan Smith. While he has not yet missed a race, Smith has struggled to keep the car in the top 35 in owners' points.