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Smithfield announces sponsorship extension through 2016 for No. 43 car

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Richard Petty Motorsports' No. 43 has a primary sponsor for the next three seasons.

The team announced Wednesday that Smithfield Foods had extended its sponsorship agreement of Aric Almirola's car through 2016. The deal includes 29 races each season for the next three years.

"We are proud to see the goals of our partnership with Smithfield Foods exceed everyone's expectations," Petty said in a statement. "During our first meeting with Smithfield, Larry was very candid in his belief that the NASCAR platform was perfectly aligned with their customer, but the only way he would invest in the sport was for us to prove the sport could produce growth for his brands."

Smithfield started as a part-time primary sponsor for the team in 2012. The capture of the company for seven races short of a full season is a big deal in a series that's increasingly dominated by split sponsorships.

Almirola finished 18th in the Sprint Cup Series in 2013. He was in the top 12 in points through the first 13 races of the season.

In two years as the full-time driver of the No. 43, he has 10 top 10 finishes and two top fives. He finished fourth at Martinsville in the fall of 2012 and fifth at Loudon in 2013.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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