Richard Petty is not a happy camper.
Petty, in a press release issued late this afternoon, took Smithfield Foods to task for ending its relationship with the team after Petty said he had a handshake agreement for it to continue.
He also noted what everyone suspected — Aric Almirola, the driver of the No. 43 who Smithfield has been with since 2012, will not return to RPM.
Petty, in the release, said he’s had numerous discussions with Smithfield since February and was under the impression the sponsor was going to return. “I recently shook hands on a deal to extend our relationship. I come from a time when we did major deals with sponsors like STP on a handshake. I’m sad to see this is where we are now. This decision is very unexpected, and we are extremely disappointed in this late and abrupt change in direction.”
He called the decision, “a significant set-back to Richard Petty Motorsports.
He released his statement literally moments after Danica Patrick announced she wouldn’t return to Stewart-Haas racing. Most speculation has Armirola taking the No. 10 for SHR.