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National Guard to end sponsorship of Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (PHOTO: JR Motorsports)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (PHOTO: JR Motorsports)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The National Guard will no longer sponsor popular NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. to save money — and because the partnership just isn’t drawing recruits.

The news broke yesterday after the agency completed an internal review and decided to make drastic changes when it comes to sports recruitment marketing.

As a result, the reserve military force is ending its $32 million Dale Earnhardt Jr. NASCAR sponsorship after this season. Additionally, the reserve military force is dropping its $12 million Graham Rahal Indy Racing League (IRL) sponsorship too.

“Significantly constrained resources and the likelihood of further reductions in the future call for more innovative and cost-effective ways of doing business,” Maj. Gen. Judd H. Lyons, acting director of the Army National Guard, said in a news release.  “We believe industry and open competition can help us identify effective and efficient solutions to help us meet our marketing and recruiting objectives within budget constraints.”

But the National Guard needs to continue to recruit new people. In fact, Lyons said the number of new members needed to join the is the second largest in the Department of Defense, coming in second to the Army.

“To make best use of limited marketing dollars, future programs will have to sustain the Army National Guard brand with the American public, and also generate quality leads that will fill our ranks with the best Soldiers that America has to offer.”

Since 2012, the National Guard has reduced sports sponsorships to just the NASCAR and IndyCar sponsorships.

Officials said that for fiscal year 2015, the Army Guard’s marketing budget is expected to be about half of what it was for fiscal year 2012.

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