Richard Petty reacted angrily today to news of the withdrawal of Smithfield Foods as major sponsor of Richard Petty Motorsports.
“We have had numerous discussions with Smithfield Foods regarding the extension of our relationship, dating as far back as February," Petty said. "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," he added. "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."
Petty also confirmed that driver Aric Almirola will not return to RPM next season. Almirola is widely expected to accompany Smithfield to Stewart Haas Racing.