A month after the military sponsorship of professional sports and teams survived a close vote in Congress, the Army National Guard extended its sponsorship of Dale Earnhardt Jr. through next season.

NASCAR’s most popular driver, who has been aligned with the National Guard since joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2008, will be backed by the Guard in 20 races in 2013, including the Daytona 500.

“I was real happy to have the Guard sign. I expected them to be a part of the program,” Earnhardt said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. “We’ve had a real positive relationship, and they’ve been excited about what we’ve been able to do.”