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Eckrich Kicks Off Summer Sponsorship of Famed Petty 43 at Kentucky Speedway Eckrich and Petty Unveil Racing-Themed Bank for Fans to Support Military Families

CINCINNATI, June 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- 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.

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.

About John Morrell Food Group
With over a century and a half of experience, John Morrell Food Group brands have become respected and well known for providing premium-quality meat products to families across the United States. With products ranging from lunchmeat and franks to smoked sausage, bacon and pepperoni, the John Morrell Food Group is an important part of consumers' mealtimes. The John Morrell Food Group offers several national and regional brands including Armour®, Eckrich®, John Morrell®, Curly's®, Patrick Cudahy®, Carando®, Healthy Ones®, Margherita® Kretschmar® and LunchMakers®.

About Eckrich
Founded by Peter Eckrich in 1894, Eckrich has a rich heritage starting from a small meat market in Fort Wayne, Ind. Through it all, Eckrich meats have been recognized for their great taste and supreme quality, craftsmanship, care and pride. For more information, visit www.eckrich.com.

About Operation Homefront
A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 4,500 volunteers across 23 Chapters and has met more than 590,000 needs since 2002. A four-star rated charity by watchdog Charity Navigator, nationally, 94 percent of total revenue donated to Operation Homefront goes directly to assist service members. More information is available at www.operationhomefront.net

About Richard Petty Motorsports
A performance and marketing driven company, Richard Petty Motorsports, co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty and successful business entrepreneurs Andrew Murstein and Douglas Bergeron, is one of the most recognized brands in all of motorsports. With a history of over 200 wins and business partnerships with national and global leaders, today the race operation fields two teams in competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Aric Almirola pilots the famous No. 43 Ford Fusion with primary partners Smithfield Foods, U.S. Air Force and STP and Marcos Ambrose drives the No. 9 machine with primary partners Stanley and DEWALT. In addition, Michael Annett wheels the No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford Mustang full-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The team is headquartered in Concord, N.C.

SOURCE Eckrich



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