NASCAR Cup Series

Cody Ware reinstated by NASCAR

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Credit: Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment

Cody Ware has been reinstated by NASCAR eight months after being indefinitely suspended in the wake of his arrest in April. This allows him to return to competition in time for the 2024 season.

Ware was suspended on 10 April a week after he was arrested and charged with felony assault by strangulation with serious bodily injury inflicted and misdemeanour assault, stemming from an argument with his then-girlfriend. According to lawsuits and arrest warrants for both individuals, the incident began with an argument over Ware not wearing a promise ring on the right finger; Ware’s arrest warrant stated he pushed her to the floor, slapped her in the face, and attempted to strangle her, while his girlfriend’s warrant mentioned she hit him in the head, breaking her right hand.

The suspension came seven races into the 2023 Cup Series season, his third as a full-time driver in the series, and forced his family’s Rick Ware Racing to field a revolving door in his #51 Ford Mustang. Seven drivers—Matt Crafton, Cole Custer, Todd Gilliland, Andy Lally, Ryan Newman, Zane Smith, and J.J. Yeley—ultimately drove the #51, which lost $3.5 million in sponsorship in the suspension’s fallout while the septet of drivers cost over $300,000 to hire. RWR filed suit against the girlfriend, seeking damages for both, which was dropped.

The charges were dropped last Thursday by the Iredell County district attorney’s office, who explained prosecutors were unable to continue the case as both parties elected not to cooperate with the investigation. Another civil filed by Ware’s family against the girlfriend was also dismissed.

“I’ve maintained my innocence from the very beginning, even as there was a rush to judgment by others,” stated Ware. “I’m glad this entire matter is behind me because it’s been an incredibly difficult eight months. With all of the allegations being dismissed, I’m thankful to have my life back.”

Ware has exclusively raced for his father’s team in the Cup Series since 2017. While RWR has already signed Justin Haley to pilot one car, the other remains available for him to return unless they opt for another route.

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