IndyCarNASCAR Cup Series

James Davison skipping Indy 500, focusing on 26-race Cup slate

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Credit: Rick Ware Racing

James Davison‘s streak of Indianapolis 500 starts will end at four. On Monday, he revealed that he will not run the famed NTT IndyCar Series event due to scheduling concerns as he focuses on the NASCAR Cup Series with Rick Ware Racing. He has a twenty-six-race schedule for RWR.

Traditionally held on Memorial Day weekend, the 500 is scheduled for 30 May. The Cup Series’ Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway will take place later in the day as usual.

“As things stand, I won’t be returning to the Indy 500 this year,” Davison posted on social media. “I have a fantastic opportunity to run 26 races in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series, with COTA and Coke 600 clashing with Indianapolis.

“I’ve found a home here in NASCAR that I’m really enjoying and want to make work.”

Much of Davison’s career has been in open-wheel cars, including making his first IndyCar start in 2013 and running the 500 every year from 2014 to 2015 and since 2017, with a best finish of twelfth in 2019 for Dale Coyne Racing. After serving as a NASCAR Xfinity Series road course ringer from 2016 to 2018, he made the move to the Cup Series in 2020 on a part-time basis for Spire Motorsports and Ware.

In 2021, he has run four of the first seven races in RWR’s #15. His highest finish of the year and at the Cup level is twenty-third on the Daytona Road Course in February.

RWR, which maintains a presence across multiple disciplines, débuted an IndyCar entry at the 2020 Indy 500 for Davison and in partnership with Coyne and Byrd Racing. However, he finished last after his brake rotor exploded, resulting in a fiery wreck that ended his day.

For 2021, RWR and Coyne will field the #51 for Romain Grosjean and Pietro Fittipaldi, with the former—a longtime Formula One driver—contesting the road and street courses while the latter returns to IndyCar after a three-year absence for the ovals.

Davison’s replacement in the 500-only #52 has not been revealed, but Cup team-mate Cody Ware participated in IndyCar testing at Texas last week and will practice at Indianapolis on Thursday and Friday. Ware is running the full Cup schedule and should he enter the 500, Garrett Smithley is scheduled to take over his car for the Coca-Cola 600.

RWR’s #15 Cup car has also been driven by Derrike Cope, Joey Gase, and Chris Windom over the first seven events. The car is currently thirty-ninth in owner points.

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