LISLE, Ill. – John Morrell Food Group and Nathan's Famous Inc. have formed a long-term partnership to manufacture and sell branded hot dog, sausage and corned-beef products.

John Morrell, a division of Smithfield Foods, plans to support the partnership through significant marketing efforts, including sponsorship of three NASCAR Sprint Cup series races and new venues for Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest qualifying events.

"This is the beginning of a great partnership with the John Morrell Food Group," said Wayne Norbitz, president and COO of Nathan's. "There are many great events planned for the summer to excite and engage our consumers including new hot dog eating events and the sponsorship of Richard Petty Motorsports. This, along with many other efforts still to come with John Morrell Food Group, will lead to continued awareness and growth for Nathan's."

Future marketing activities include the debut of new social media platforms for Nathan's that will include Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Nathan's Famous also will be the focus of national promotions via mobile sampling events and a NASCAR show car tour.

"We have put many hours of planning into our marketing efforts to support our new relationship with Nathan's Famous," said John Pauley, executive vice president of sales and marketing for John Morrell Food Group. "We want to bring the excitement of the original, authentic hot dog across the country and really bring alive that excitement through our NASCAR partnership, the Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest Qualifying events and our mobile sampling units. It's going to be a great summer for Nathan's."