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Smithfield CEO counters RPM comments

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 - Practice

BRISTOL, TN - APRIL 22: Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Smithfield Ford, practices for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 22, 2017 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Smithfield Foods issued a statement against Richard Petty Motorsports criticizing the team’s “subpar performance on the track.”

Kenneth M. Sullivan, President/CEO of Smithfield Foods, Inc. issued a statement in response to comments made by Richard Petty earlier in the day about Smithfield leaving RPM for Stewart-Haas Racing next season.

Petty said in his statement the two sides “recently shook hands on a deal” that carried beyond this season. “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 of direction.’'

Here’s the full statement from Sullivan, the Smithfield CEO:

“We are extremely disappointed that Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) has chosen to disparage Smithfield -- its lead sponsor -- after five years and tens of millions of dollars of unwavering financial support, despite years of subpar performance on the track.

“RPM’s claims of a ‘handshake deal’ to extend our sponsorship are unequivocally and patently false. Smithfield’s numerous discussions with RPM over the past several months focused exclusively around one issue: RPM’s inability to deliver on the track and the organization’s repeated failure to present a plan to address its lack of competitiveness.

“Smithfield is a performance driven company and we demand performance from the people we do business with. For that reason -- and that reason alone -- Smithfield decided not to renew its contract with RPM when it expires at the end of this year. It is very unfortunate and disheartening that RPM has chosen to disseminate false statements regarding our communications to NASCAR fans who we have supported wholeheartedly with more than a $100 million investment in the sport over the last several years.”

Click here for the full Smithfield statement.

When asked if it would have a counter response to Sullivan’s statement, a RPM spokesman told NASCAR Talk “We have no comment at this time.”

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