From the left: Bob Weber, Smithfield Foods senior business development Director, Larry Pope, president and CEO, racing legend and RPM co-owner Richard Petty; Aric Almirola, No. 43 RMP Driver; Jim O'Connell, NASCAR chief sales officer; and Brian Moffitt, RPM president.

CONCORD, NC – Smithfield Foods, Inc. and its family of brands will be the primary sponsors of Richard Petty Motorsports' (RPM) No. 43 Ford Fusion race car for 29 races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series in 2014 and beyond.

The agreement increases Smithfield's commitment from 15 events in 2012 and 25 in 2013 to 29 events in 2014-2016. The No. 43 Smithfield Foods Ford will begin the 2014 season at the 56th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 23 live on FOX.

“I believe in the power of NASCAR and Richard Petty Motorsports. My challenge to RPM was, to help Smithfield connect our brands with the sport’s 80 plus million fans,” said Larry Pope, president and CEO of Smithfield Foods. “Our results completely validate our participation.

“I also expect that our increased investment will yield significant infrastructure steps that lead to our shared vision of Petty Rising to be realized,” Pope added.

For Richard Petty Motorsports, the sponsorship will support a research a development group led by Scott McDougall, a veteran NASCAR team engineer.

“We are proud to see the goals of our partnership with Smithfield Foods exceed everyone’s expectations,” noted Richard Petty, co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports. “During our first meeting with Smithfield, Larry was very candid in his belief that the NASCAR platform was perfectly aligned with their customer, but the only way he would invest in the sport was for us to prove the sport could produce growth for his brands.”

“This expanded partnership is evidence the platform has worked and continues to work,” Petty added. “We have worked very hard the past two seasons to position our team as business and marketing leaders in the NASCAR landscape. Smithfield’s continued commitment with us for years to come will allow us to focus on winning on the track while still working with Smithfield Foods to expand their business.”