If Cody Ware has not caught up on Demon Slayer, he has a month to do so before the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season begins. On Friday, Ware announced via SiriusXM that he will return to the #51 Rick Ware Racing machine for the upcoming campaign.
The 2021 Cup Series marked Ware’s first full season of NASCAR competition after part-time racing across the three national divisions. While he was ineligible for Rookie of the Year as he ran for Xfinity Series points, he ran all but four Cup rounds with a best finish of twenty-first in the season-opening Daytona 500. He missed the races at Nashville and Watkins Glen as he was dabbling in the NTT IndyCar Series for the first time, while he was forced to sit out Richmond and Bristol in the fall due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Ware made three IndyCar starts during 2021 for Dale Coyne Racing, who has an alliance with RWR, as he respectively finished nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-fifth at Road America, the Music City Grand Prix, and the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix in Indianapolis. He had also planned to run the Indianapolis 500 and completed rookie orientation, but a lack of sponsorship prevented the opportunity from arising.
His 2021 also included seven starts in the Xfinity Series for SS-Green Light Racing, also an RWR partner, with two top-twenty finishes and a best run of fifteenth at Mid-Ohio. Prior to the NASCAR season, he débuted in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona for RWR Eurasia alongside fellow Cup driver Austin Dillon, Sven Müller, and Salih Yoluç; the entry finished fourth in the LMP2 class. While Ware’s racing portfolio spans multiple disciplines, the Rolex 24 seeing his strongest performance of the year is perhaps unsurprising as much of his career had been spent in sports cars, which included being named Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America Rookie of the Year in 2014 and winning the Asian Le Mans Series LMP2 Am championship in 2019/20.
Although the #51 was a Chevrolet in 2021, it will be a Ford Mustang for 2022 as RWR has joined forces with Stewart-Haas Racing. The partnership means new SHR reserve driver Ryan Preece will serve as a team-mate to Ware in the #15 for two races; David Ragan will drive the car in the Daytona 500.