Smithfield to Leave Richard Petty Motorsports; Patrick to Leave Stewart Haas

CHARLOTTE, NC - RIS - Silly season continues for the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup series.  Smithfield Foods has notified Richard Petty Motorsports that it will not be returning to the No. 43 Ford Fusion for 2018.  Instead they will allign with Stewart Haas Racing's Fords with a driver to be named later.  The press release said that Smithfield felt like they would be in a better competitive situation with SHR.  Driver Aric Almirola, who had piloted the RPM Ford for 16 seasons, found his ride in turmoil after this announcement.

"The decision to leave Richard Petty Motorsports and join Stewart Haas was difficult, but we feel this move will improve our cometitiveness on track and strengthen our position as a leading consumer packaged food company," according to a statement released by Smithfield.

Richard Petty had another take on this move, as might be expected.

"We have had numerious discussions with Smithfield regarding the extension of relationship, dating as far back as February," Petty said in a released statement.  "Over these months, Smithfield had continuously told me they wanted to be with us, and I recently shook hands on a deal to continue our relationship.  I come from a time we did major deals with sponsors like STP on a handhake.  I'm sad to see this is where we are now."

In a interesting twist, SHR driver of the No. 10 Fusion announced on here Facegbook page that she would not be driving for this team in 2017.  Patrick gave no details on her future plans.

SHR said the details and the identity of a "new driver" would be released at a later date.

Ron Fleshman

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2017, Issue 9, Posted 4:47 PM, 09.12.2017