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U.S. Army to Sponsor Ryan Newman and Stewart-Haas Racing
Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman with the Army car
Rhonda McCole/AR1.com
Stewart-Haas Motorsports announced Thursday that the U.S. Army has signed on to sponsor Ryan Newman and the no. 39 Chevrolet for the 2009 Sprint Cup season.

Newman will join two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart, who will pilot the no. 14 Chevy for the team next season.

"I'm extremely honored for the opportunity to drive the no. 39 U.S. Army Chevy and proud to represent the men and women who serve and protect our country," said Newman, who will depart Penske Racing at the end of the 2008 season.

The U.S. Army will sponsor Newman in 23 races next season, including the all-star event, and will serve as an associate sponsor for the remaining events. The team has not yet announced who will serve as primary sponsor for the remaining races or who will serve as Newman's crew chief in 2009.

The Army sponsorship drew some criticism due to the current legal problems of Haas Automation owner Gene Haas, who is currently serving a two-year prison sentence for tax fraud.

"Clearly, we took that into consideration, but there were things that basically overrode that particular issue," said Maj. Gen. Montague Winfield, commanding general of the U.S. Army Cadet Command. "This is a new team, and more or less a new beginning, and the individual that deals with us, the person that deals with racing issues is in fact Tony Stewart, and that was the key to us decision to stand by this team. We're looking forward to this relationship because we know this is a winning combination."

Stewart was quick to point out the ownership structure of his new venture.

"This team is a partnership between me and Haas Automation, not me and Gene Haas.

"This (sponsorship) is something that we’re very proud of. We immediately pick up a fan base of 1.2 million soldiers that are on our side each weekend. We're extremely excited and proud about this opportunity and the partnership with the U.S. Army and excited to see Ryan in the U.S. Army car next season."  Pete McCole reporting from Lowe's Motor Speedway
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