Smithfield Foods Expands Richard Petty Motorsports Sponsorship

By Community | January 15, 2014

Smithfield Foods has expanded their sponsorship of Richard Petty Motorsports in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series.

What began as a seven-race sponsorship deal two years ago has been expanded to 29 for this season and each of the next two years, with the company’s investment in RPM increasing 50 percent each year through 2016. The agreement also includes a contact extension for driver AricAlmirola, which is concurrent with the Smithfield deal.

“It’s tremendous,” said Brian Moffitt, the team’s chief executive officer. “When Richard took back control of the company, him being a champion and a winner, he didn’t just want to run around in the back of the pack. It’s about being competitive. And Smithfield stepping up the way they are, it gives us more testing opportunities, it gives us more to advance research and development. We’ve been able to hire human capital — in our business it’s all about the people, and we’ve been able to invest in some really good people we’ve been able to bring into the company.”

The new agreement puts RPM’s flagship No. 43 car in its best financial shape since Petty and a pair of investors took over a once-foundering organization from former majority owner George Gillett in late 2010. RPM, which receives chassis from Roush Fenway Racing and engines from Roush-Yates, also fields the No. 9 car of Marcos Ambrose. But the No. 43 has long been a symbol of the seven-time champion in the cowboy hat, and Wednesday’s announcement bolstered hopes of ending a winless skid for the vehicle that dates back to 1999.

“Not only are they investing in Richard Petty Motorsports, but they’re investing in our performance, to help us to perform at the level we need to be competitive,” Almirola said. “Because let’s be real — everybody’s seen it for 100 years in racing: money buys speed. The teams with the most money, with the most resources, with all the right tools and right people, and that can afford the right people and the right parts and pieces, are successful. This is a huge step in that direction.”

From Smithfield’s perspective, the relationship with RPM was successful in helping to connect its brand with NASCAR fans, and justified the increased financial commitment. “Our results completely validate our participation,” said Larry Pope, the company’s president and chief executive officer.