SAN ANTONIO, TX. To W.M. "Rusty" Rush, chairman, CEO and president of Rush Enterprises, which owns the Rush Truck Centers chain of commercial vehicle dealerships, increasing “brand awareness” will play a key role in the company’s growth strategy – with Rush’s partnership with Tony Stewart’s Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team a key part of that effort.

“I’m very comfortable with my NASCAR investment because it’s sport that appeals to our customer base and our employees as well,” Rush explained in a meeting with reporters here at the 2013 Rush Truck Centers Technician Skills Rodeo. “You can’t believe how many tool boxes I see in our company’s shops with his [Tony Stewart’s] picture on them.”

Back in February, Rush became the primary sponsor of Tony Stewart and his No. 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team for three Sprint Cup races featuring the “Rush Truck Centers” logo on the car’s hood for the 2013 season, with plans for an expanded deal in 2014 for five race sponsorships.

“This goes way beyond just having Rush Truck Centers on the hood of race cars,” Stewart told reporters. “One thing that is very consistent is our passion for what we do and I think that’s where our friendship developed.”

Stewart noted back in February that he’s been doing business with Rush Truck Centers for years. “It's an established relationship that will now have a much higher profile,” he said.

“Rush Truck Centers keeps our trucks and transporters in great condition, and you could argue those are the most important parts of our race team,” Stewart added. “Without them, our cars never get to the racetrack. The employees of Rush Truck Centers are as detail-oriented as we are, and they play a critical role in the success of our race team."

Since the creation of SHR in 2009, the team has won 17 races, 11 poles and captured the 2011 Sprint Cup championship with Rush Truck Centers hauling SHR's fleet of race cars to every race and test session.