Report: Smithfield leaving Richard Petty Motorsports after this season

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Smithfield will leave Richard Petty Motorsports after this season, according to a report Sunday morning by Motorsport.com.

Richard Petty Motorsports had no comment about the report. Smithfield has been a sponsor of the team since 2012.

The news comes two months after team owner Richard Petty said he was looking forward to having Smithfield back for the 2018 season.

Richard Petty Motorsports has been the center of talk in the garage this season but made it known Sept. 5 that it had no plans to merge with any teams at the time. Also, Richard Petty Motorsports will be looking for a new home. It will not renew the lease on its shop and vacate the building after this season.

Aric Almirola is in the final year of his contract with the team, and his status for next season has not been announced. Almirola finished 17th Saturday night at Richmond Raceway. He has not finished better than 12th in the eight races back with the team since he was injured in a crash in May and missed seven events.

The team has expressed an interest in Darrell Wallace Jr., who filled in for Almirola in four races.

The organization’s first priority, though, is to find sponsorship. It has two charters, leasing one this season to Go Fas Racing for the No. 32 of Matt DiBenedetto. That charter must return to RPM or be sold. If it is returned, RPM could lease the charter for the No. 43 and remain a one-car team next season.

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