Thursday, 20 February 2020

NASCAR: Last-minute change at Rick Ware Racing ahead of 2020? – Beyond the Flag

NASCAR: Last-minute change at Rick Ware Racing ahead of 2020? – Beyond the Flag
06 Feb

Per multiple sources, Rick Ware Racing have made a last-minute change to their lineup ahead of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Rick Ware Racing have been clear that their goal for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season is to run three cars on a full-time basis, and that looks like that is what they are going to do.

They had just two charters, one for the #51 car and the other for the #52 car, last season, and they did not have any full-time drivers, but they recently acquired a third charter from the #36 Front Row Motorsports team, which shuttered operations after fielding an entry for rookie Matt Tifft in the 2019 season.

Just before the 2019 season ended and then just over a month after it ended, they confirmed that J.J. Yeley and Joey Gase are slated to compete full-time for the team in the 2020 season.

However, their third chartered entry, the #53 car, is set to be shared, as they hired David Ragan, who retired from full-time competition, through a partnership with Front Row Motorsports for the Daytona 500 only.

They are also planning to field a fourth car, the #54 car, on a part-time basis throughout the 36-race season alongside the #51 car, the #52 car and the #53 car (#36 Ford for Daytona 500).

Now, however, according to multiple sources, Yeley is set to drive the #54 car for the team in the Daytona 500. This car is the one Rick Ware Racing car that does not have a charter for the 2020 season.

This means that despite his role as a full-time driver, he will not be guaranteed a starting spot in this 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked Daytona International Speedway oval in Daytona Beach, Florida, while another chartered car is now free for at least this race.

So what is the deal with Yeley moving forward?

He still does appear slated to compete full-time, so the most likely scenario is that he ends up shifting from car to car and sharing the chartered #52 car with multiple drivers throughout the year.

But with Rick Ware Racing and full-time drivers, is there really a “most likely scenario”? They have, after all, never had a full-time driver; in fact, they have never had a single driver compete in more than 18 races throughout a single season.

Adding to this uncertainty is the fact that two years ago, Rick Ware Racing planned to run a full-time entry for Ray Black Jr., and that ultimately did not happen. Black, who made the first three starts of his Cup Series career driving for the team toward the end of the 2017 season, ended up competing in only one race in the 2018 season.

Assuming Yeley competes full-time but does not spend the entire season driving the chartered #52 car, this would mean that there are 37 full-time cars with just 34 full-time drivers.

Both numbers will increase provided that MBM Motorsports go ahead with their plans to run Timmy Hill on a full-time basis behind the wheel of the #66 car this year, although that car is also not chartered.

The only other confirmed full-time driver who is not set to drive a chartered car is Daniel Suarez, who is set to pilot the #96 Toyota for Gaunt Brothers Racing.

Next: Top 10 NASCAR drivers of all-time

How many drivers and which driver or drivers will end up competing full-time for Rick Ware Racing throughout the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season? Will J.J. Yeley end being one of them as initially planned?



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