Nature’s Bakery said on Thursday that it will fight Stewart-Haas Racing in court over a $31 million breach-of-contract sponsorship lawsuit filed by Danica Patrick’s NASCAR team.
The company acknowledged that ended its sponsorship agreement with Patrick and Stewart-Hass Racing after the first year of a three-year agreement, but that the company was “thrown off” by the lawsuit, stating that the two sides were scheduled to meet in Charlotte just days before the lawsuit was filed.
“We were thrown off by SHR’s lawsuit,” Nature’s Bakery CEO Kelly Allin said in the statement. “SHR and its owners are no stranger to aggressive litigation. Ours is a family business that repeatedly sought to resolve our issues privately…They now are threatening scorched-earth litigation against a multi-generational family company.
“We’re obviously not going to let them bully us. We may be a small brand, but we do not think what they are doing is right. We look forward to defending ourselves in court.”
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The company went on to say that it will soon file a more detailed response and counterclaims that will “shed light on SHR’s conduct both during the race season and after.”
Before the lawsuit, Patrick has been known to promote Nature’s Bakery on social media, claiming that she ate the fig bars before she was even partnered with the company. However, the lawsuit states that sPatrick had not sufficiently endorsed Nature’s Bakery on social media and that Patrick’s endorsement of a Six Star Pro Nutrition Protein Powder was a violation of a prohibition for endorsing competing products.
Patrick finished 24th in the NASCAR Cup standings last year. She is the highest-finishing woman in the Indianapolis 500 (third) and Daytona 500 (eighth). In 154 starts at NASCAR’s top level, she has six career top-10 finishes, and won the pole for the Daytona 500 in 2013 and led a career-high 30 laps last year.
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“We obviously are disappointed in how things turned out, but we wish Danica Patrick and her new Ford team much success on the track this year,” Nature’s Bakery founder Dave Marson said in the statement. “We are always going to be NASCAR fans and support the good works that it represents.”