Found June 30, 2012 on Start 'N' Park Blog:
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CINCINNATI, OHIO – Celebrating their first of three primary race sponsorships of Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, and their partnership with Operation Homefront, Eckrich®, part of the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, wants you to put your loose change to good use.     “The King” Richard Petty and Almirola, unveiled a specially designed racing tire bank today at the Kentucky Motor Speedway.  Joining the drivers were representatives of Operation Homefront and a military family who are serving as guests of Eckrich and the race team during the race weekend.    Richard Petty and Aric Almirola helped Eckrich and Operation Homefront Unveil a Tire Bank at the Kentucky Speedway. The bank, made from a real NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race tire, is meant to remind fans of the partnership between Eckrich with Operation Homefront to support military families by donating five cents from the purchase of specially-marked products, up to $200,000, from now through July 4.  In addition, it also allows fans to donate to Operation Homefront by placing change of their own in the tire bank to help military families.  Petty and Almirola began the collection by placing 43 cents into the tire. The bank was unveiled outside the race hauler and race fans will be able to immediately start their donations this weekend.  This one-of-a-kind bank will then travel to all of Eckrich’s sponsored races the rest of this summer including Indianapolis, July 29 and Michigan, August 19.   All change collected will be donated to Operation Homefront to support military families. “I’m always looking for a place to throw my spare change and thought this racing bank was just about perfect,” quipped Petty.  “Really, this is all about supporting military families through Eckrich’s partnership with our race team and Operation Homefront.  We’ve always been a family and race team that wants to give back to the people who sacrifice so much for us.  Hopefully the fans will keep filling up this bank as a simple way to say, ‘thanks’ to all our military families.”    Almirola is carrying the colors and logos of Eckrich and Operation Homefront on his Sprint Cup Series car this weekend for the first time this season and is also hosting a military family as guests of Eckrich and the race team.  Almirola hopes that the fans will also support Eckrich and their cause. “We started our relationship with Eckrich and Operation Homefront at the Prelude to The Dream and had a great night there,” said Almirola.  “Now, coming to Kentucky and showing the colors on our Cup car and unveiling this bank, really gives the fans the opportunity to get involved with the race program.  It’s just a great way to support our military families.  I’m proud to have guests here at the track this weekend too.  Hopefully they will have a lot of fun.  They deserve it for everything they have already sacrificed for us.” This is the first time that the Eckrich colors have graced the famous No. 43 Ford.  Their support of Richard Petty Motorsports expands throughout the summer at both Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July and the Michigan International Speedway in August. “We are excited and proud to begin our Sprint Cup Series season with Richard Petty Motorsports and Aric Almirola this weekend,” said Charles Gitkin, vice president, marketing, innovation and R&D for the John Morrell Food Group. “And what better way to start than with the unveiling of this one-of-a-kind bank.  We value our relationships with the Petty race organization, Operation Homefront and America’s military families. This bank will allow more people to get involved and show their appreciation.” Almirola and the No. 43 Eckrich/Operation Homefront Ford will compete in the Quaker State 400 Saturday night.  The race will be televised live by TNT.
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