Florida Events and Traveling,  Travel

Grilling it up with Smithfield Racing at NASCAR Coke Zero 400

Smithfield Racing Richard Petty Photo credit Smithfield Racing

Over the Fourth of July weekend, I had an phenomenal experience to cover and be apart of the Smithfield Racing Team. In Daytona, I observed Chef Justin Leo grilling it up for the pit crew before the start of the race, met legendary Richard Petty, witnessed a Whole Hog Challenge and interviewed #43 Smithfield’s very own, Aric Almirola.

I will admit, being apart of this historical event in racing was spectacular in itself. Being able to see Daytona International Speedway in person, strolling down to pit stop row -Plus taking advantage of walking on the actual race track was pretty exciting!  Watching visitors signing the finish line was remarkable to see in person.

Richard Petty Motorsports

Coke Zero 400 Daytona International Speedway


My day started by visiting the Sprint FanZone located in the infield. My family and I got an up-close look from above at the pit stop and hauler of #43 Aric Almirola. As we stood there and watched race cars getting pushed to the start line, we couldn’t help to feel the excitement in the air.

Next we headed over to the midway to watch Smithfield’s Whole Hog Challenge. This area is free and open for the public to enjoy.

Smithfield Whole Hog Challenge


Once the contestants were selected and brought on stage, it was time for this amateur competitive eating contest to begin. You see, during the 2015 racing season and at most tracks, Smithfield Foods will host these fun events. The winner at each location will have a chance of the grand prize in November of becoming crowned and titled the Smithfield Whole Hog Challenge Champion in Homestead Florida. Sounds exciting doesn’t it!

On stage along with the contestants was the legendary Richard Petty, #Chasing43 Aric Almirola and Exclusive Chef Justin Leo from AmericanQ BBQ & Beyond.


#Chasing43 Aric Almirola


Whole Hog Challenge Daytona Coke Zero 400


Briefly after the winner was announced, I got a chance to chat it up with The King- Richard Petty, The Cuban Missile- #43 Aric Almirola and Chef Justin Leo. Each one of these men were kindhearted and took the time for some photo opps and questions.

Sunshine and Flip Flops- Richard PettyI think you can see in my face that I was pretty thrilled and proud to meet Richard Petty and Chef Justin Leo.


Next, I hitched a ride back to the Smithfield #43 hauler to witness Justin Leo grillin’ some BBQ dishes for the pit crew.  Talk about an ah-mazing spread!


IMG_3261These dishes were prepared, presented and cooked by Chef Justin Leo along with his assistant. Three words- finger licking good! The smell of BBQ just lingered in the air and the food was unbelievable!


The Smithfield Racing Team could choose from BBQ St. Louis Style Pork Ribs, BBQ Bacon-Wrapped Chorizo Stuffed Sweet Peppers, Corn Bread like stuffing, Macaroni & Cheese and delicious Cole Slaw. If I had to choose which dish was my favorite I certainly couldn’t. The ribs were tender and smoked to perfection.





I will admit, I still drool when I look at the pictures. If your a lover of BBQ foods like I am and love the brand Smithfield, then you already know that these dishes were out of sight!


Many thanks to the brand Smithfield for allowing me to be a guest and apart of this special day in racing history. Having the ability to experience first hand the Sprint FanZone, Daytona International Speedway, cheer on the contestants at the Smithfield Whole Hog Challenge, the opportunity to meet The King- Richard Petty, The Cuban Missile- Aric Almirola and AmericanQ Chef Justin Leo was a fantastic day!

For more information about Smithfield or Smithfield Racing please visit their website.

Stay connected with Smithfield to learn more about their upcoming Whole Hog Challenges on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


Thanks for visiting!


Sunshine and Flipflops was compensated by admission and monetary of being apart of this Smithfield/Smithfield Racing event.   All experiences and opinion are my own. This article is in no way associated with, sponsored or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media outlet. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10CFR Part 255 Guides/Concerns the use of endorsements and testimony of advertising. For questions and concerns email Michele @Mdickerson316@gmail.com

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Michele is a Florida-based recipe creator, travel buff, and lifestyle advocate. Who believes in creating easy recipes without sacrificing the flavor of each culture. She adores her family, the warm Florida sun, and wearing flip flops.


  • Cherri Megasko

    I'm not at all a NASCAR fan, but I love the Smithfield brand! And all the food on this page is making me want to fire up the grill!
  • Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    Holy amazingness! That looks like it was an absolute fantastic time. That food looks amazing.
  • Jeannette

    What an amazing experience it looks like you had! Living in the south I have grown up around racing and there is nothing better on race day that some delicious ribs!
  • Grace Hodgin

    Oh my goodness! Not only do they know how to race, they can grill too. I have several friends that love to go to races and they would be thrilled to meet Richard Petty
  • Kelly Stilwell

    Looks like you had a blast! Thanks so much for sharing! I'll be at the Crown Royal 400 later this month so it will be on my site the first week of August!
  • Nancy

    What a cool event! I'd love to see some sort of car race like this - my housband is a huge fan. Maybe one day I'll take him :)
  • desirae young

    How fun! We are race fans here too and live right in race city. Its always crazy seeing at the race car drivers just walking in and out of the stores here.
  • Jaime Nicole

    Such wonderful looking food! I love to be outside and have the grill going and this looks like a great excuse to do both! Glad you got to enjoy this event.
  • Lisa Joy Thompson

    Wow, it looks like this was an incredible event to attend. Did you get to check out any race cars? I'm drooling over that plate of food, too!
  • Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

    Who can resist BBQ? Especially Ribs! Wish I could get all that goodness in me belly RIGHT NOW! :-)
  • Jeanine

    Oh how awesome would this event be! That food, looks amazing!! I'm also slightly jealous of your tan, I need to get to Florida one day!! This looks like such a blast, I would love to attend an event like this - my hubs is a nascar fan!
  • Carly Brydon

    This looks like it was a super fun event! It's so awesome that you got to get a picture with the King Richard Petty!
  • Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    I am not a huge racing fan, but I do love to eat (who doesn't, right?), so I would have been all about the grilling. That's awesome that you got to meet Richard Petty!
  • Shaney Vijendranath

    That food looks so good! What an awesome event, love the pictures! Felt like I was there too. :P
  • Ann Bacciaglia

    This would be an amazing weekend. It looks like you had a great time. The food looks so delicious my mouth is watering.
  • Digna

    Those ribs looked incredible. Must have been great to meet Richard Petty. Other than Earnhardt Sr., Petty was my favorite of the old-timers.
  • Uplifting Families

    My mouth is already watering for those ribs. I enjoy them and don't get to eat them very often. It sounds like you had a great time. Congratulations.

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