RPM, Smithfield Foods Bring Back "Petty Blue" Paint Scheme For Almirola's No. 43
Richard Petty Motorsports and Smithfield Foods yesterday announced that the paint scheme for Aric Almirola's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series No. 43 Ford will feature "Petty Blue" for 24 races this season. It will be the first time in over 40 years that the Petty Blue color will be primarily featured on the No. 43 for nearly the entire race schedule (RPM). ESPN.com's Ryan McGee wrote Smithfield "has agreed to forgo today's common NASCAR practice of rotating complicated specialty paint schemes." Instead, during its 25 races as Almirola's primary sponsor, Smithfield will "promote its five major brands with much simpler designs, featuring mainly white logos placed atop the iconic shade known as Petty Blue." The new paint-scheme plan begins this weekend with Smithfield's Farmland Foods brand on the hood during Sunday's Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix Int'l Raceway. RPM co-Owner Richard Petty said, "I think bringing back Petty Blue makes everything easier for everyone. It's easier for the fans to find the car on the racetrack. It's easier on Smithfield and all our sponsors to stand out. It's easier on the guys who paint up the cars." McGee noted Petty Blue was "best known as half of the legendary STP-backed rides" in the '70s and '80s. Petty Blue became "so popular that it is still listed as an official color choice by multiple paint companies." But after STP reduced its NASCAR involvement in '01, Petty Blue's "prominence on the race car declined, eventually relegated to a background color or used only in one-off throwback designs." Petty said, "I'm hoping maybe it will set a trend. I like the special paint jobs. ... But they work best when you use them only every now and then. Maybe this deal might be the start of a new trend that's really just an old trend" (ESPN.com, 2/27).