Smithfield Foods Statement Regarding Richard Petty Motorsports:
"We are extremely disappointed that Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) has chosen to disparage Smithfield - its lead sponsor - after five years and tens of millions of dollars of unwavering financial support, despite years of subpar performance on the track. RPM's claims of a 'handshake deal' to extend our sponsorship are unequivocally and patently false.
Smithfield's numerous discussions with RPM over the past several months focused exclusively around one issue: RPM's inability to deliver on the track and the organization's repeated failure to present a plan to address its lack of competiveness.
Smithfield is a performance driven company and we demand performance from the people we do business with. For that reason - and that reason alone - Smithfield decided not to renew its contract with RPM when it expires at the end of this year. It is very unfortunate and disheartening that RPM has chosen to disseminate false statements regarding our communications to NASCAR fans who we have supported wholeheartedly with more than a $100 million investment in the sport over the last several years."
- Kenneth M. Sullivan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Smithfield Foods, Inc.
--- Smithfield Foods Facebook page ---
Statement by Richard Petty Regarding Loss of Sponsor
Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) was recently notified that its current partner, Smithfield Foods, will not return to the team next season. Aric Almirola will also not return to the #43.
A statement from Richard Petty:
"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 #43 team. We have a lot of great partners who have expressed their continued support, and our fans will rally around the #43. We've been around since 1949, and we'll be around a lot longer."
--- Richard Petty Motorsports ---
AND Smithfield Foods Inc., a global food company and the world's largest pork processor and hog producer, announced earlier today it will join Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) as a primary team sponsor beginning in 2018. Details of the agreement, including the driver who will be added to SHR's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series lineup in 2018, will be provided at a later date.
"We're very proud to have Smithfield Foods join the Stewart-Haas Racing family," said Brett Frood, president, SHR. "Smithfield has activated heavily and successfully within the sport, and we're honored to be a part of the brand's forward initiatives and strategy. 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 and putting forth the best effort possible to win more races and contend for another championship."
Stewart-Haas Racing currently fields four entries in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series - the #4 Ford Fusion for Kevin Harvick, the #10 Ford Fusion for Danica Patrick, the #14 Ford Fusion for Clint Bowyer and the #41 Ford Fusion for Kurt Busch. The team also competes in the NASCAR XFINITY Series by fielding a full time entry - the #00 Ford Mustang for Cole Custer - and one part-time entry - the #41 Ford Mustang.
--- Stewart-Haas Racing / True Speed Communication ---
ORIGINAL POST After a handshake agreement between the sponsor and the King, RPM was informed that Smithfield will not return in 2018. Negotiations had been ongoing since February but talks cooled after the team proposed Darrell Wallace as the new driver for the #43 car.
The company is expected to move to Stewart-Haas Racing next season.
Earlier this season, the rumor mill had Smithfield leaving RPM with Almirola for SHR. However, the latest development has put RPM's plans - including driver selection for next season - in a holding pattern.
--- Motorsport ---