Supported by Rick Ware Racing, Kyle Weatherman and Josh Bilicki will make their first Monster Energy Cup Series starts of 2019 in Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway. They will drive the #51 and #52 cars, respectively, in their returns to the team’s Cup programme. Both drivers will also compete in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race.
“This will be my second time pulling double duty, and man, am I excited to be back in the Monster Energy Cup Series with Rick Ware Racing,” Bilicki said in a release. “I made my Cup Series debut in 2017 with Rick, and that was his rookie season in the Cup Series. I raced for him again last year, and I was pleasantly surprised with how much the team had grown in just one year. I fully expect the same experience this year, and look forward to this weekend.”
“Josh has driven for us part time over the past few years, and it’s been great to see him grow as a driver,” Ware stated. “When he first entered NASCAR, he had very little oval experience. Now that he has a full season in the Xfinity Series under his belt, I fully expect Josh to contribute his knowledge to our program.”
Bilicki currently races in the Xfinity Series with RSS Racing; he has attempted all but one race in 2019 with a best finish of twenty-third in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. He is currently thirty-fourth in points. Although he has three Cup starts to his name, the Michigan race will be his first on an oval track; in 2017 and 2018, he ran three road course races with Ware with the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway and both years’ Watkins Glen International events. Interestingly, he finished thirty-sixth in all three races.
Like Bilicki, Weatherman’s Cup début came in 2017 with Ware, doing so at the fall Martinsville Speedway event; he finished thirty-fourth. In 2018, he ran seven Cup races in StarCom Racing‘s #99, recording a best finish of twenty-sixth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In April 2019, Weatherman joined Ware’s Xfinity stable for two races at Bristol Motor Speedway and Richmond Raceway, finishing twenty-eighth and thirty-second, respectively. For the Michigan Xfinity race, he will drive Mike Harmon Racing‘s #74.
In 2019, Ware has fielded the #51 and #52 cars full-time for a variety of drivers; for the latest Cup race at Pocono Raceway, Bayley Currey and J.J. Yeley piloted the vehicles to twenty-fifth and thirty-fourth-place finishes, respectively. In the Cup owners’ points, the #51 (operating under the Petty Ware Racing banner) is thirty-fourth, while the #52 is thirty-ninth.