Tony Stewart losing co-sponsor

Updated: September 2, 2012, 1:40 PM ET
By Marty Smith | ESPN

HAMPTON, Ga. -- Office Depot, co-primary sponsor for Tony Stewart's No. 14 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since Stewart took over the team in 2009, will not return in that capacity in 2013, a team spokesman confirmed.

Stewart
Stewart

"Office Depot has notified SHR that they will not be renewing as the primary sponsor of the No. 14 team," SHR spokesman Mike Arning said. "However, SHR is in continued discussions with Office Depot regarding possible future roles the company could have with the team."

Asked what those future roles might be, Arning was unable to specify.

"They want to be involved with Tony and the team, but are unsure how right now," he said.

Office Depot's departure leaves quite a void for SHR. The office-products company held the primary sponsorship in 22 of 38 races in 2012. Mobil 1, which holds primary sponsorship of the No. 14 in the series' remaining 16 events, will carry the same investment in 2013, Arning said.

Mindy Kramer, Senior Director of Communications for Office Depot, said the decision to leave the three-time champion was difficult and not taken lightly.

"The changing business landscape warrants a realignment of priorities and resources," Kramer said via written statement. "That being said, Tony Stewart has been an exceptional ambassador for our brand, and he has gone above and beyond in everything that he has done for our company.

"Being a part of his legendary 2011 championship run was a moment of tremendous pride for everyone at Office Depot."

Office Depot is also currently the "Official Office Products Partner" of NASCAR, a status they've held since 2005. Kramer and NASCAR spokesman Jon Schwartz both said the two sides are still negotiating any future relationship.