Smithfield Foods, a long-time partner of NASCAR Cup Series driver Aric Almirola, will not be continuing its NASCAR partnership beyond this season, the brand confirmed in a statement on Saturday.
The company, which first partnered with a Tampa, Florida-native in 2012 at Richard Petty Motorsports, has served as an important part in the career of Aric Almirola over the last decade — including serving as the anchor partner of the No. 10 Ford Mustang since 2018.
“Smithfield Foods congratulates Aric Almirola on his excellent run with Stewart-Haas Racing. With Aric’s decision to explore new opportunities, the time has come for Smithfield to end our NASCAR partnership,” the brand said in a statement. “We’ve been with Aric since the beginning. We were his first sponsor in 2012, his first full-year sponsor in the NASCAR Cup Series, and we’ve enjoyed great success with him over the years.”
“Aric has been an incredible ambassador for Smithfield over the past 12 seasons, and we have enjoyed an outstanding relationship with Stewart-Haas Racing in our six seasons together. We plan on finishing 2023 strong, and we wish Aric and SHR the very best.”
Alongside speculation of Almirola’s retirement, the brand has also been a major topic in the NASCAR Cup Series garage over the last two years, after rumors have swirled of the brand leaving NASCAR entirely.
The official announcement comes just after Almirola, 39, announced that he would not be returning to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2024, but instead exploring other opportunities, other than driving the No. 10 Ford Mustang.
This season, Smithfield has served as an anchor partner of the No. 10 Ford Mustang for Aric Almirola, partnering with the organization for a 30-race deal, typical to how it has operated in previous seasons.
Smithfield Foods Statement on NASCAR Sponsorship pic.twitter.com/Z9u5i05ymm
— Smithfield Foods (@SmithfieldFoods) October 28, 2023