Smithfield Foods, the principle sponsor of Richard Petty Motorsports’ (RPM) No. 43 Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, has joined other companies in sponsoring the dinner for Petty where he will receive the Cameron R. Argetsinger Award presented by the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) of Watkins Glen, New York. According to a press release July 27 from the IMRRC, Smithfield will sponsor the cocktail reception at the event which will be held Thursday, August 6, at the Corning Museum of Glass. Corning is about 20 miles south of Watkins Glen.
The Cameron R. Argetsinger Award is given in memory of the man who founded and organized the first races at Watkins Glen, beginning in 1948. Petty raced in eight NASCAR events at Watkins Glen. On July 19, 1964, he competed there against his father, Lee Petty; it was the last race of the elder Petty’s career. Richard went on to have a career lasting 30 years, chalking up entries in 200 races.
Bob Weber, Smithfield Vice-President of Corporate Marketing, commented on the sponsorship, “Smithfield Foods and Richard Petty corporately found each other in 2011, but our relationship goes back much further than that as fans of The King and his untouchable records set over a career that continues to this day. We are thrilled to join race fans throughout the country in honoring Richard.”
According to the press release, Smithfield Foods is a $15 billion global business, the “world’s largest pork processor and hog producer.” Brands associated with the company include Nathan’s Famous, Armour, Smithfield, and others. With RPM, the company has helped food pantries in communities where NASCAR races.
Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 43 Smithfield Ford, joined Richard Petty Motorsports in 2012. He was the winner of the 2014 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. Both Almirola and Smithfield Foods’ Weber will be among the dinner speakers honoring Petty.
About the announcement of Smithfield’s involvement, IMRRC President J. C. Argetsinger said, “Smithfield’s commitment to ensuring families do not go hungry is well-known. Their concern for America’s communities matches Richard Petty’s own philanthropy, and the Racing Research Center is proud to be associated with both.”
The dinner will feature several speakers of note from the NASCAR and racing communities. Last year’s winner, Chip Ganassi, was feted with a retrospective of his career as well.
While tickets are limited, the event is open to the public. As a fundraiser for the IMRRC, the dinner ticket price is $250, but the center receives the proceeds to help continue its work.
The mission of the IMRRC is to serve as an archival library “dedicated to the preservation of the history of motorsports, of all series and all venues, through its collections of books, periodicals, films, photographs, fine art and other materials.” It is one of the rare centers of its kind open to the public.
Other entities supporting the award dinner include Corning Incororated, Glenora Wine Cellars, Chip Ganassi Racing, the Sport Car Club of America (SCCA), Welliver, and Elmira Savings Bank. The dinner is held on the Corning Museum of Glass premises.
Tickets may be purchased online from the IMRRC or by calling the Racing Research Center at (607) 535-9044. More information is available on the IMRRC website.