NASCAR Cup Series

Garrett Smithley rejoins Rick Ware Racing for West Coast races

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Credit: Rick Ware Racing

When the NASCAR Cup Series heads westward, Garrett Smithley will represent Rick Ware Racing. On Tuesday, the team announced Smithley will drive the #15 Ford Mustang in the three races in the Western United States, nicknamed the “West Coast Swing”, at Auto Club Speedway (27 February), Las Vegas Motor Speedway (6 March), and Phoenix Raceway (13 March).

Smithley has raced part-time in the Cup Series since 2018, and he first joined RWR in 2019. In seventy career Cup starts, his best finish is twenty-fourth at Indianapolis in 2020 and the 2021 Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas.

In two Cup starts at Auto Club, he finished thirty-sixth and thirty-fourth, the latter for RWR. Four tries at Las Vegas yielded a trio of thirty-fifths and a thirty-first in 2021. Phoenix saw five runs with a best finish of thirty-first in 2019 and 2016’s second rounds. While not ideal performance numbers, it is also important to keep in mind that RWR is a weaker team than much of the Cup grid, though the team has taken steps towards improving in 2022 through a partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing and Ford Performance.

“We’re excited to have Garrett back in the fold at RWR,” commented Rick Ware. “He has been an integral part of our organization the last few years. Our alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford and Roush Yates Engines will allow us to continue to build our program and be able to add another quality driver to our 2022 NASCAR Cup Series lineup.”

Much of his career has been spent in the Xfinity Series, which included full-time seasons between 2016 and 2019 for JD Motorsports. His best points finish is eighteenth in 2016 and he has five top tens in the series.

“As the NASCAR Cup Series enters a new era of stock car racing with the Next Gen car, I felt it was extremely important to not only remain in the Cup Series, but to do so with an organisation like RWR,” said Smithley. “The opportunity that Rick and Lisa (Ware) have offered me is special, and I am blessed to have them in my corner.”

The #15 was piloted by David Ragan in Sunday’s Daytona 500, where he finished eighth. Joey Hand and Ryan Preece will also make starts in the car.

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Justin is a History major at San Jose State University and lifelong racing fan who has worked for The Checkered Flag since 2018. His coverage mainly focuses on NASCAR, the Stadium Super Trucks, and off-road series like Extreme E and SCORE International. He also dabbles in other disciplines such as IndyCar, rallycross, and sports cars.
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