Tony Stewart adds Mobil 1 as sponsor
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Stewart-Haas Racing announced Tuesday that Mobil 1 will join Office Depot as a primary sponsor on Tony Stewart's car in 2011.
The team co-owner, two-time Sprint Cup champion and winner of Sunday's race at California has been looking for a second sponsor since it was announced that Old Spice would not return next season.
"As a team owner, I'm absolutely thrilled to add such a respected technology partner to our race team," said Stewart.
Mobil 1, which signed a multiyear deal with Stewart-Haas Racing, will be the main sponsor on the hood of Stewart's No. 14 Chevrolet for 11 races next season.
Crew chief Darian Grubb said Mobil 1 will bring more than sponsorship dollars to SHR.
"I think people underestimate the technology they can bring to our team," Grubb said. "We're just kind of in the infancy state of getting some of those things in place and working out some programs. In the next month or two, it will be some small things. But hopefully by the time next season rolls around, we'll have a competitive advantage."
Mobil 1 is in the final year of its contract with Penske Racing's No. 77 team of Sam Hornish Jr. The sponsor became available when team owner Roger Penske signed a deal with Shell-Pennzoil to be the primary sponsor for Kurt Busch and the official oil of Penske's empire.
Sources said Hendrick Motorsports looked at Mobil 1 as a potential partner for Jeff Gordon's team, but Hendrick recently re-upped with Quaker Stake. Hendrick said at the time that there would be no conflict of interest with a team such as Stewart-Haas that uses HMS engines.
Top-name drivers such as Stewart have struggled to find funding, and four-time champion Gordon still does not have a primary sponsorship deal announced for next season. But Stewart said there's still money to be found for NASCAR teams.
"There are still companies that are going to be in the sport, and there are still companies who want to be associated with marquee guys," he said. "I can promise you that [Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports] are not sitting over there without an offer on the table."
Mobil 1 will also be an associate sponsor for the No. 39 Chevrolet of Stewart's teammate, Ryan Newman. But the team is always looking for associate sponsors -- a search that has become highly competitive throughout the industry.
"It's tough, you realize there's a lot of teams competing for the same dollars," he said. "The competition off the track is just as tough as the competition on the track right now. I don't know if this is customary, but I know it's competitive when we got letters from our own sponsors that they had sent to Roush [Fenway Racing] saying they were happy with us."
Information from ESPN.com's David Newton and The Associated Press was used in this report.