Originally written on Race Review Online  |  Last updated 11/12/14

CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 23: Hall of Fame inductee Richard Petty walks around the NASCAR Hall of Fame on May 23, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)


The Petty family has a long history of supporting our nation's heroes. This weekend, with the help of driver Aric Almirola, the team will once again take time to honor America's military families with team partner Eckrich.

This summer, Eckrich, part of the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, has partnered with Operation Homefront to support military families. The company has already donated $200,000 to Operation Homefront through the contribution of five cents from each purchase of specially marked products from May 1 through July 4. It has also partnered with Operation Homefront and Richard Petty Motorsports to honor a military family at the track during its three primary race events, including this weekend at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Honoring the military is not new to Almirola or Petty. The team already has partnerships with the U.S. Air Force and the Paralyzed Veterans of America. For Almirola, who was born on Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, it's also in his family blood.

Sunday's Brickyard 400 will mark Almirola's career debut at the storied 2.5-mile oval in Indianapolis, Ind.

Comments from Eckrich Ford Fusion Driver Aric Almirola:

"I don't know if a lot of people knew I was born on an Air Force Base before this season, but a partnership and program like we have with Eckrich has allowed more people to hear my story. It's really something I'm proud to share and proud it's part of my family background. My father was a mechanic at Eglin Air Force Base. He didn't get sent overseas or anything like that, so I was lucky that our family wasn't separated for any long periods of time. But there are a lot of military families that do experience that. And while it's very important that we think about the safety of the service men and women who are deployed, we also have to keep in mind the spouses and kids back home who are missing their mom or dad or other family member and may need some extra help.

"I know that our military families sacrifice a lot. And that's what this is all about. It's about Eckrich and Operation Homefront teaming up to make sure our military families are recognized and have their needs met. Having the logo on the car this weekend at Indy is a reminder that we need to recognize and take care of those who are taking care of us."

Comments from Eckrich Ford Fusion Co-Owner Richard Petty:

"Throughout the years we've always tried to do something for our military members. We have relationships with the Air Force and the PVA and now Eckrich has partnered with Operation Homefront. It's always important to take some time and say 'thanks' to our military families. And what Operation Homefront does is to make sure they are taken care of. I think that's something very important to do.

"Sometimes we see the soldier, but you have to remember that most of the time there is a family at home, too. We need to make sure to remember them and ensure they have everything they need. That's what Operation Homefront does and Eckrich has done a great job of supporting them. We just need Aric to go race up front on Sunday and we'll get a lot more people to see what it's all about, too."

Chassis History:

The team has prepared chassis No. 783 for the Indianapolis race. The No. 43 team has previously raced this car at Kentucky; Charlotte, where Almirola won the pole; Texas; and Las Vegas.


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