Dale Earnhardt Jr. is optimistic about his sponsorship relationship with the National Guard despite the U.S. Army's decision to end its association with another team, Stewart-Haas Racing, next season.
Earnhardt, in second place in NASCAR's Sprint Cup standings, said Friday he was ''disappointed'' by the Army's decision announced last Tuesday.
''I feel that our (National Guard) program is really productive,'' Earnhardt said before qualifying for Sunday's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. ''Apparently, they don't feel like theirs was productive.''
Ryan Newman, who drives for SHR, attributed the decision to end the sponsorship to ''true politics.''
Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota and Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia are backing an amendment that would prohibit military sponsorship of sports. McCollum lost a House vote a year ago to end military sponsorships of NASCAR, professional wrestling and fishing, but is trying again to have about $80 million in sponsorship cut from the defense budget.