|Danica Patrick is a free agent|
Smithfield Foods announced last week that it will leave Richard Petty Motorsports at season’s end to join Stewart-Haas Racing as a primary team sponsor.
No announcement was made concerning which SHR Ford will carry the Smithfield logo, or who will drive the car. An announcement from the team confirmed, however, that a “driver will be added to SHR’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series lineup in 2018.”
“We’re very proud to have Smithfield Foods join the Stewart-Haas Racing family,” said SHR 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.”
Shortly after that announcement, Danica Patrick confirmed that her tenue at SHR will end at Homestead Miami Speedway.
“It has been my honor to drive for Tony Stewart, Gene Haas and everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing for the past six seasons,” said Patrick in a written statement. “Together, we earned a Daytona 500 pole, seven top-10 finishes and we also had some exciting racing along the way. My time driving for them, however, has come to an end due to a new sponsorship arrangement in 2018.
“Sponsorship plays a vital role in our sport, and I have been very fortunate over the course of my career, but this year threw us for a curve. Our amazing partners, such as Aspen Dental and Code 3, stepped up in a big way on short notice this year and I am incredibly grateful. I wish SHR the best of luck with their new sponsorship and driver. Thanks for the memories. Right now, my focus is on the remainder of the 2017 season and finishing the year strong. I have the utmost faith in myself and those around me, and feel confident about my future.”