It has been a busy Friday for Rick Ware Racing. Early in the day, the team announced it would race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship starting with the 2020 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Later, Joey Gase revealed he has joined the team for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season.
“I am excited to expand the RWR brand,” team owner Rick Ware stated. “There is no better platform to market and promote sponsors and brands than motorsports. We are able to cross-promote our partners in both the IMSA and NASCAR Series, adding huge benefits. I am looking forward to an exciting year, growing RWR both nationally and internationally.”
Since the end of the 2019 Cup season, RWR has seen an expansion into sports car racing. The organisation recently formed an Asian Le Mans LMP2 programme, fielding an Ligier JS P2 for Cody Ware and Mark Kvamme. Ware, Rick’s son, has sporadically raced in NASCAR since 2014, while Kvamme has raced in the WTSCC for the last six years, including a fourth-place run in the 2019 Rolex 24.
The duo recorded a podium finish in the team’s maiden race at Shanghai International Circuit in late November. Despite missing qualifying and only having two laps of practice as the car’s arrival was delayed, the pair recorded a fourteenth-overall finish and second in their class.
In IMSA, the team will field an LMP2 Prototype; for the Roar Before the 24 testing, Ware and Kvamme will share the car with James Davison and Johnathan Hoggard. Davison, who has raced in the Indianapolis 500 since 2014, also has four NASCAR Xfinity Series starts between 2016 and 2018 (three at Road America and one at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course) with two top-ten finishes. In a December report by RacinBoys’ Lee Spencer, Davison revealed his intention to compete in the 2020 Daytona 500 and Indy 500. Hoggard won the 2019 Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award after finishing runner-up in the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship.
In the realm of stock cars, Gase will run the full 2020 Cup schedule with RWR.
“I am very excited to be able to call Rick Ware Racing my home for 2020,” he said. “It’s a dream come true to be able to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series full-time. It has been a dream of not only mine, but my whole family ever since I can remember and it’s taken a lot of hard work and sacrifices to get me here. I feel very fortunate to be able to say this and can’t thank Rick, Lisa and everyone at RWR enough for this opportunity, and all of our partners for making it possible.”
From 2014 to 2019, Gase raced full-time in the Xfinity Series for Jimmy Means Racing, Go Green Racing, and MBM Motorsports. He has three career top-ten finishes and a best finish of fourth at Talladega Superspeedway in 2015, while 2014 and 2018 saw his best points finish of twentieth. In his lone season with MBM in 2019, he finished twenty-fourth in the standings with a best run of sixteenth in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
Gase also has forty-one career Cup starts since 2014 for a variety of teams, including two starts with RWR in 2018 and 2019. His best finish is eighteenth with StarCom Racing at the fall Talladega Superspeedway event in 2018.
With the move, Gase becomes J.J. Yeley‘s team-mate at RWR. Yeley is also scheduled to race full-time for the organisation, his first full slate since 2013.
During the 2019 season, RWR fielded two full-time cars, the #51 (under the Petty Ware Racing banner) and #52, along with limited starts with the #53 and #54 for an assortment of drivers. The #51 finished thirty-fourth in the owners’ standings, followed by the #52 (thirty-eighth), #53 (thirty-ninth with fifteen starts), and #43 (forty-third with four starts). The team also saw action in the Xfinity Series, running the #17 in partnership with Mike Harmon Racing for multiple competitors as it finished forty-fourth in the NXS owner points.