Smithfield to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018
Smithfield Foods Inc. announced Tuesday that it will join Stewart-Haas Racing as a primary team sponsor beginning with the 2018 season.
The decision was announced on the company's Facebook page, with few other details provided. Speculation ramped up after Motorsport.com's Lee Spencer reported that Smithfield went back on a handshake deal with Richard Petty Motorsports after the team proposed Darrell Wallace Jr. as the driver of the No. 43 Ford next season.
In a press release, Stewart-Haas Racing said details of the sponsorship, "including the driver who will be added to SHR's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series lineup" would be announced at a later date.
Smithfield officials said the decision to leave Richard Petty Motorsports was difficult, but they feel the move will improve their competitiveness on the track and increase brand awareness in NASCAR. Smithfield has been the primary sponsor of RPM and driver Aric Almirola since 2012.
In six seasons with the No. 43 team, Almirola has one career win at Daytona in 2014, nine top-five finishes, and 27 top 10s. He missed seven races earlier this season due to a compression fracture he suffered in a crash at Kansas Speedway.