Smithfield Foods to Join SHR; RPM Responds


Virginia-based Smithfield Foods Inc. is joining Stewart-Haas Racing as a primary team sponsor for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. (Photo: Getty Images)


Virginia-based Smithfield Foods Inc., the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer, is joining Stewart-Haas Racing as a primary team sponsor for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Details of the agreement and the name of the driver who will be added to SHR’s lineup for next season was not included in Tuesday's announcement.

"Smithfield has activated heavily and successfully within the sport," said SHR President Brett Frood. "Although we’re not ready to announce the full details of the program, we look forward to this new endeavor while remaining focused on the upcoming playoffs."

Stewart-Haas Racing has two drivers competing for a championship in this year's playoffs, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick. Smithfield is currently sponsoring the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford for Aric Almirola, who finished 30th in the regular-season standings and missed the playoffs by 14 spots.

And late Tuesday afternoon, Richard Petty Motorsports confirmed driver Aric Almirola would not return to the No. 43 in 2018 and also issued the following statement concerning Smithfield leaving the team after 2017.

"We have had numerous discussions with Smithfield Foods regarding the extension of our relationship dating as far back as February. Over the past few months, Smithfield had continually told me they wanted to be with us, and I recently shook hands on a deal to extend our relationship. I come from a time when we did major deals with sponsors like STP on a handshake. I'm sad to see this is where we are now. This decision is very unexpected, and we are extremely disappointed in this late and abrupt change of direction.
"Losing a sponsor of this magnitude in September is a significant set-back to Richard Petty Motorsports, but Andy (Murstein) and I are committed to moving forward with the No. 43 team. We have a lot of great partners who have expressed their continued support, and our fans will rally around the No. 43. We've been around since 1949, and we'll be around a lot longer."

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