Tony Stewart’s retirement season might bring sponsor reunions

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KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – For his final season in the Sprint Cup Series, Tony Stewart might be getting the brand(s) back together.

With Stewart-Haas Racing having locked up 2016 sponsorship for Kurt Busch (whose Monster Energy deal was announced Wednesday), Danica Patrick (Nature’s Bakery replacing GoDaddy) and Kevin Harvick (whose lineup is similar but with more races for Jimmy Johns and fewer for Busch), the focus will turn to the final batch of paint schemes on Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet.

SHR executive vice president Brett Frood, who handles the team’s day-to-day business, said Stewart’s sponsorship will “have some changes on it down the line.

“It depends on things with Tony with his retirement,” Frood told NASCAR Talk. “That will be more fluid and farther out.”

In a reign that will conclude after 18 full-time seasons in NASCAR’s premier series, Stewart has built some memorable sponsorship ties with companies such as Home Depot, Old Spice and Office Depot.

The three-time series champion’s farewell lap could include some throwbacks with familiar companies.

“We’re looking to make the last year a special one and maybe find some unique opportunities to reunite some brands and do some fun things,” Frood said.

As Jeff Gordon requested during his final season, Stewart has rejected the notion of being feted with weekly retirement tributes (“You can save your gifts; I’ve got enough rocking chairs at home as it is”), but Frood said there would be an opportunity for salutes.

“He’ll be up for it as long as we have a plan to do some fun strategic things that reward the fans and do some things that showcase his partners over the years,” Frood said. “We won’t do it every week. We’ll do it right, and we won’t hit him with 30 weeks of it.”