CONCORD, N.C. – Smithfield Foods is leaving Richard Petty Motorsports to join Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.
Smithfield Foods made the announcement on their Facebook page Tuesday morning.
“We’re excited to announce today that Smithfield Foods will join Stewart-Haas Racing as a primary team sponsor beginning in 2018,” the company said in their official statement on Facebook. “The decision to leave Richard Petty Motorsports and join Stewart-Haas Racing was difficult but we feel this move will improve our competitiveness on the track and strengthen our position as a leading consumer packaged goods company.”
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.”
Smithfield Foods had been a primary sponsor of Richard Petty Motorsports and the No. 43 team since the 2012 season. It leaves the team without a primary sponsor ahead of the 2018 season.
“We have had numerous discussions with Smithfield Foods regarding the extension of our relationship dating as far back as February,” said Richard Petty Motorsports co-owner Richard Petty. “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.”