KANNAPOLIS, N.C. -- Sponsorship issues at Stewart-Haas Racing are starting to clear up.
Quicken Loans announced on Tuesday that it will double its presence on Ryan Newman's car to 18 races in 2013. That will replace the 12-race sponsorship the No. 39 team lost when U.S. Army decided not to renew.
SHR also is working on a potential deal with Bass Pro Shops to replace some of the 22 races left open on Tony Stewart's car after Office Depot announced plans to leave the sport after this season.
"It's a huge first step in filling in a couple of large voids,'' Stewart said of expanding the sponsorship of Quicken Loans. "Hopefully, that will have a domino effect.
"We're really close to getting Ryan's races sold. We're still working on getting mine taken care of. We feel we have a couple of good leads that hopefully will get done before the end of the year.''
Newman also could get a new crew chief in 2013. Plans have been discussed for Tony Gibson and the entire No. 39 crew to move to Danica Patrick's car when she begins her first full season in the Sprint Cup series.
Newman and Stewart said nothing has been finalized even though Gibson seemed confident this past weekend at Dover it would happen, but admitted that was a possibility. If a change is made, Newman wouldn't mind working with his new crew chief before the season.
The good news for Newman is his car is almost fully sponsored, with Wix Filters, Outback Steakhouse and Aspen Dental expected to return. He said getting Quicken Loans on the car for 18 races gives him more confidence that his one-year deal for next season could become more long-term.
"Good, for sure,'' Newman said. "There is potential they can become bigger and that relationship can grow to a long-term deal. It's a big step in the right direction from a long-term contract standpoint.''
Quicken Loans was new to NASCAR this season, with a nine-race sponsorship for Newman's No. 39 team. The company will be back for 18 races next year as the primary sponsor.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.