The 2019 Daytona 500 has another debutant. On Thursday, Rick Ware Racing announced B.J. McLeod will drive the team’s #51 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in the Great American Race with sponsorship from JACOB Companies; it will be McLeod’s first Monster Energy Cup Series race on a superspeedway.
“I am very excited for this opportunity to drive in the Daytona 500 and represent Rick Ware Racing and JACOB Companies,” McLeod stated in a release. “I have a very good relationship with Rick and Don (Perry, CEO of JACOB Companies) and it is an honor to represent them in the biggest race of the year.
“I have a very good history with RWR, and I feel that we have a great shot to surprise a lot of people at Daytona. We made some great strides last season and I look forward to carrying that momentum into the 2019 season.”
McLeod, who currently owns and drives for B.J. McLeod Motorsports in the Xfinity Series, joined Ware for a part-time Cup schedule in 2017 and 2018. In twenty-three career Cup races, he has a best finish of twenty-eighth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in fall 2018.
In the Xfinity Series, McLeod has four career starts at Daytona International Speedway and a best run of eleventh in 2017.
“B.J. is a great representative of RWR and JACOB Companies,” Ware said. “He brings so much experience and knowledge to this program and what we are trying to build. I can’t wait to see what the combination of him and crew chief Mike Hillman Sr. can accomplish at Daytona.
“I feel their combination and work ethics will take us to another level and get our year kicked off in the right direction. Our guys have worked really hard during the off season and we are looking forward to seeing it pay off.”
For the 2019 season, Ware has expanded to two cars, fielding a #52 in addition to the #51. With McLeod in the #51, it is likely that Cody Ware pilots the #52, especially after declaring his intention to run the race in January.
As the #51 has a charter, McLeod is guaranteed a spot in the race.