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NASCAR Cup: Smithfield joins Stewart-Haas Racing for 2018

Stewart-Haas-Racing-logoBy AMANDA VINCENT

Smithfield will leave Richard Petty Motorsports at 2017 season’s end to become a primary sponsor at Stewart-Haas Racing, beginning in 2018, according to an announcement Tuesday morning by Stewart-Haas Racing.

“We’re very proud to have Smithfield Foods join the Stewart-Haas Racing family,” Stewart-Haas Racing President Brett Frood. “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.”

A driver announcement forthcoming. The press release from SHR announcing the Smithfield sponsorship suggested that the pork processor/producer will have a driver new to the SHR fold in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in its car, as the release said, “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.”

“Silly season”-related speculation has, at times, had both Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch out at SHR. The race team didn’t pick up the option on Busch’s contract but has publicly stated that it hopes to keep Busch in the fold with a re-negotiated contract. Speculation also has had the team trying to get out of its deal with Patrick. Patrick arrived at Stewart-Haas with significant sponsorship, but one of her latest sponsors, Nature’s Bakery has backed away from her and the race team prior to the end of its original contract with the team.

Smithfield has sponsored Aric Almirola at RPM since 2012. Almirola also is in a contract year with that team. Almirola has one-career win and made the postseason playoffs once in his time with RPM and Smithfield in 2014. While Almirola was sidelined with a back injury for two months earlier this season, Darrell Wallace drove the No. 43 RPM Ford in four races, posting a best finish of 11th in his fourth start at Kentucky Speedway, which also was his fourth-career Cup Series start. Wallace also is looking for a ride for next year, and his name has come up in speculative talks.

Meanwhile Richard Petty Motorsports is a single-car team losing its primary sponsor at season’s end. RPM scaled back its Cup Series efforts from two cars to one during the 2016/2017 offseason.

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer).

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Posted by on September 12, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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