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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup

Aspen Dental Extends Partnership with Patrick, Stewart-Haas

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After two weeks of sponsor uncertainty heading into the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, it appears that Danica Patrick has landed a new primary sponsor for her No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.

SHR announced on Tuesday that Aspen Dental has expanded their partnership with Patrick and the team and will be the primary sponsor for the No. 10 Ford in the season-opening Daytona 500 later on this month.

Aspen Dental and Patrick have been aligned since the 2014 season and will be the lead sponsor for a double-digit slate of races this season.

“Our commitment to Danica Patrick goes back almost four years and our relationship with SHR even further,” said Bob Fontana, chairman and CEO of Aspen Dental Management, Inc. “She is a strong advocate for the Aspen Dental brand and a wonderful ambassador for programs like the Healthy Mouth Movement. Danica and Stewart-Haas Racing have encouraged fans to get started on the road to better oral health care while showcasing how Aspen Dental practices make it easy for them. We look forward to our enhanced partnership.”

Patrick expressed her excitement about the extended partnership between herself and Aspen Dental.

“From the first time I visited Aspen Dental’s headquarters in 2013, I was struck by their commitment to helping people and changing lives,” Patrick said. “I love working with organizations that care about people, and teaming up with a group that has such an important mission – breaking down barriers and helping patients get the dental care they need is very rewarding.

“In the years since I first partnered with Aspen Dental, it’s been fun to work on some unique projects with their team. From the ‘Taste of the Future’ video to launching the MouthMobile and then having the ‘Turbocharged Tooth Fairy Squad’ at Talladega last spring, we’ve worked together on some pretty impactful programs. It’s incredible to see firsthand how many people they’ve helped. I’m looking forward to delivering the company’s message at even more races this year.”

The Aspen Dental move comes off the heels of a $31 million dollar lawsuit filed by SHR against Patrick’s former primary sponsor Nature’s Bakery for failure to pay the organization the money owed to sponsor Patrick this season.

According to a story by the Associated Press, Stewart-Haas Racing had concerns that Nature’s Bakery could afford the cost of a primary sponsorship. However, Nature’s Bakery founder Dave Marson assured SHR that they had the cash flow necessary to meet all requirements.

The lawsuit per the AP also states that Nature’s Bakery sent a letter to SHR on January 19th terminating the sponsorship agreement. Also according to the suit, Nature’s bakery has missed deadlines scheduled for payment.

Stewart-Haas Racing is now looking to the courts to resolve the matter.

“It is an unfortunate situation, as the team has delivered on all aspects of its contract and was prepared to do so again in 2017. Ultimately, this is a situation that will be resolved in a court of law,” the statement said.  “The litigation with Nature’s Bakery will not impact the organization’s on-track efforts.”

Ford’s Director of Performance, Dave Pericak assured that every effort would be made to see that Patrick’s No. 10 car would make it to every race this season.

“I’m hopeful that we’re gonna come to a resolution on that, but at the end of the day what I can say is that you have my commitment and the commitment of Stewart-Haas Racing and everyone that’s involved that it is not gonna affect our ability to hit the track and run that car and run it the way that it needs to be run,” he said. “I don’t really want to make any additional comments given where we are in the whole situation, and it’s very unfortunate that we’re going through it right now, but one way or another I can just tell you that you will have that 10 car on the track and it will be ready to perform.”

It appears now with Aspen Dental stepping up their program and expanding their sponsorship any potential crisis concerning Patrick and the No. 10 car have been avoided.

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Justin Tucker

Been following Motorsports for over 30 years. NASCAR, Indy Car, F1. Earliest racing memory was Richard Petty's 200th Cup Series win. Currently resides in Ridgeway, Missouri. Favorite things to do outside of Racing is watching and cheering on the Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Kansas City Chiefs.