Smithfield Foods announced Tuesday that they would be moving their sponsorship to Stewart-Haas racing in 2018. Smithfield cited their desire to see competitive results on the track as their reason for leaving RPM and heading to SHR. A very logical explanation for the move and one that most people with a brain will likely understand. It certainly looks like the rich got richer but from Smithfield’s standpoint they’re paying to be up front, RPM isn’t getting that done.
Over 5 years and $100M invested by Smithfield into RPM gives them the right to do whatever they please with their money. If Smithfield doesn’t believe they are receiving the return on investment it only makes sense for them to move to another team when their contract ends at the end of this season.
Generally, when a sponsor leaves a team for another team it’s a simple press release and that’s it. The driver who is losing the sponsor will generally be like ” yeah it’s a bummer but we’ll move forward” or something like that. Richard Petty is not one of those people and released a press release of his own regarding Smithfield’s departure.
— Alan Cavanna (@CopaCavanna) September 12, 2017
Richard Petty says he and Smithfield had a “handshake” agreement to continue their relationship beyond the 2017 season. He goes on to say that he did deals with STP the same way and comes from a place and time where handshake deals meant something.
Essentially Petty is throwing some shade at Smithfield and acting a little bitter. You lose a $20M sponsor you’d probably be a little bitter as well. Petty should have had a contingency plan in place in case this happened. Everything we’ve heard is the team was looking for sponsorship for Darrell Wallace Jr. to run a second car. Obviously, that wasn’t true and now the team is looking for a primary sponsor.
Petty has to understand Smithfield wants more for their money. With the amount of money they were spending the biggest ROI they’ve had to date, unfortunately, was Almirola’s wreck.
Smithfield Claps Back
Smithfield Foods Statement Regarding Richard Petty Motorsports pic.twitter.com/vyrVoGQwvN
— Smithfield Foods (@SmithfieldFoods) September 12, 2017
Ken Sullivan is not here to play. Ken Sullivan is here to throw hands if it comes to that. What a scathing response to RPM’s press release. It’s a bit of a juvenile response and one you normally don’t see from a CEO not named Dan Gilbert. It’s cool to see how passionate Ken is about the money his company spends and like anyone he wants to see the car he funds in victory lane.
To call out their lack of competitiveness and “subpar” performance is a low blow. We all know RPM has under performed for years, not a shocking revelation to anyone with eyes. But damn, those are fighting words. It is unfortunate both sides have acted like scorned teens but it’s fun for the rest of us. The on track NASCAR product may suck right now but the off track drama is so enticing.
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