Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 10/25/14

LAS VEGAS - SEPTEMBER 26: Aric Almirola, driver of the #51 Miccosukee Resort Toyota stands during qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Las Vegas 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 26, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

CONCORD, N.C.  - Smithfield Foods returns as primary sponsor of the No. 43 Ford as Aric Almirola and his Richard Petty Motorsports team prepare to go road-course racing at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.  And the Petty blue-and-black Smithfield paint scheme that hits the 2.45-mile road course will be no ordinary design.

The No. 43 scheme for Sunday’s Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen was created by long-time Petty fan and graphic designer Kevin Gates.  Gates sent a sketch to Smithfield earlier this season on a whim and, much to his surprise and delight, learned the race team’s partner was going to update its scheme to reflect his design.  The Gates-designed scheme also ran at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the All-Star race in May.

The race on the 2.45-mile, seven-turn course will be the second road race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.  Almirola has one previous Sprint Cup start at Watkins Glen – a 35th-place finish in 2008.  He also has an eighth-place finish at the course in the Nationwide Series (2011).

Away from the race course, Smithfield will be leaving its mark in the Watkins Glen community before the race even starts.  As part of its nationwide Feeding the Hungry initiative, the company will be making a donation of 30,000 pounds of food on Friday to The Food Bank of the Southern Tier 388.  The food donation will take place at the Tops Market at 504 ½ Franklin St. in Watkins Glen.  Representatives of Richard Petty Motorsports will be on hand for the “Ham Brigade,” which begins Friday at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Comments from Smithfield Ford Fusion Driver Aric Almirola: “It’s great to have Smithfield back on our No. 43 Ford this week at Watkins Glen.  They have been such a great partner this year.  I’ve really enjoyed everything we’ve worked on together, both at the track and away from it.  They have a great presence in the community and a desire to give back, which makes them a great partner with Richard Petty Motorsports since that’s something that this race team has always believed in.

“It’s also cool to be running a paint scheme that a fan designed.  The devotion of Petty fans is unbelievable and it was awesome of Smithfield to make Kevin’s dream come true.  Watkins Glen is a cool track – I’ve raced it a couple times before – and we’re going to work hard to get that blue-and-black Smithfield scheme running up front.”

Comments from Crew Chief Mike Ford on Watkins Glen: “Watkins Glen is a lot faster than Sonoma, the other road course we race on, so you don’t have the benefit of taking the same car or set-up or relying on the same notes.  It’s a different animal.  But Aric has raced this course before, both in Cup and Nationwide, so he brings some experience and he’ll know what to expect.

“Brakes are important at Watkins Glen because you’re mixing high speeds with sharp turns, so we need to take care of the brakes.  Fuel mileage always comes into play, too, so we have to race smart and give ourselves an opportunity to be in good position at the end.”

Chassis History: The No. 43 team has prepared chassis No. 760 for the Watkins Glen race.  This car was last run one year ago at the 2011 Watkins Glen race.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Seahawks DE Michael Bennett takes shot at Mark Sanchez

Report: Oregon State reached out to Brady Hoke about job

Minor league salaries challenged in antitrust lawsuit

Joseph Fauria tweets that Russell Wilson stole his gal?

Brady: 'Blame CBS and NBC' for putting in-game swearing on air

Big 12 may look to expand, hold football title game

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

LeBron may wear 'I Can't Breathe' shirt for royal visit

Jeff Fisher trolls Robert Griffin III during coin toss

Jim Harbaugh chats with Raiders owner before game

Report: Singletary expected to get head coaching job

TCU players furious about College Football Playoff snub

Ex-Redskin London Fletcher blasts Jim Haslett

Report: Man shot as result of 49ers-Raiders dispute

2014-15 college football bowl game watchability rankings

S.I. names Madison Bumgarner 'Sportsman of the Year'

Quit whining and just enjoy the College Football Playoff

10 takeaways from NFL Week 14

WATCH: Refs fist-bump after Broncos TD

WATCH: Revolution player helps Galaxy keeper up, tosses him

WATCH: Steve Smith gets into it with Dolphins fan

WATCH: Manziel has classic reaction to Hoyer overthrow

WATCH: Elton John falls out of chair during tennis match

WATCH: Joseph Fauria twerks after scoring touchdown

WATCH: Chris Baker does 'hands up, don't shoot' after sack

NASCAR News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Seahawks DE takes shot at Sanchez

Bowl watchability rankings

Russell Wilson stole Joseph Fauria's gal?

Brady blames TV for airing his swearing

10 takeaways from NFL Week 14

Jeff Fisher trolls RG3 with coin toss

Steve Smith gets into it with Dolphins fan

WATCH: Joe Fauria twerks after TD

TCU players furious over playoff snub

London Fletcher blasts Jim Haslett

Bush wears 'I Can't Breathe' shirt

Saints, Panthers get into scrum

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.