Cody Ware

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NASCAR’s preliminary entry lists for Sonoma, Iowa

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NASCAR heads back out west this week as the Cup Series gears up for its first road course race of the year at Sonoma Raceway, which marks the halfway point of the season.

Meanwhile, the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series go to Iowa Speedway for the first time this season.

Here’s the entry lists for all three races.

Cup – Toyota/Save Mart 350

There are 38 cars on the entry list and they include four drivers who are making their Cup debuts.

Richard Petty Motorsports announced that sports car driver Billy Johnson will drive the No. 43.

Israeli-born driver Alon Day will make his debut in the No. 23 Toyota for BK Racing. Tommy Regan will drive the No. 15 Toyota for Premium Motorsports. Josh Bilick will drive the No. 51 for Rick Ware Racing. He replaces Cody Ware who is out indefinitely with back issues.

Last year, Tony Stewart won his 49th and final Cup race after swapping the lead twice with Denny Hamlin on the last lap, including passing Hamlin in the final turn.

Click here for the full entry list.

Xfinity –  American Ethanol E15 

There are 41 cars on the entry list, meaning one car will not qualify for the race.

There are no Cup drivers entered into the event.

Sam Hornish Jr. is set to make his first start of the year in Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford.

Joe Gibb Racing will have Kyle Benjamin in its No. 18 Toyota and Christopher Bell in the No. 20.

Ben Kennedy will make his second start for Richard Childress Racing in the No. 2 Chevrolet.

Ty Majeski will make his Xfinity debut driving the No. 60 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing.

Last year, Hornish led 183 laps and won this race driving the No. 18 for JGR in his first NASCAR start of the year. Erik Jones won the August race.

Click here for the full entry list.

Truck – Iowa 200

There are 29 Trucks entered into the race. A full field would be 32 trucks.

The No. 52 truck of Stewart Friesen has withdrawn from the event.

Last year, William Byron won this race, his third of the year, after leading 107 laps.

Click here for the full entry list.

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Cup driver Cody Ware out indefinitely with back issues

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Cup Series driver Cody Ware announced on Facebook Wednesday that he will be out indefinitely due to lower-back problems that forced him to exit the last two races early.

A MRI revealed that the 21-year-old Ware, who drives the No. 51 Chevrolet for Rick Ware Racing, is suffering from “some compression and discs issues,” he said in a post on his Facebook page. first reported the story.

The No. 51 team was entered into this weekend’s race at Michigan. A team spokesperson said they will not race at Michigan, but will be at Sonoma Raceway next weekend.

Ware said he exited the Dover race two weeks ago after 283 laps due to “serious back issues.

“It wasn’t typical pain and I was concerned with how it was affecting my driving,” Ware said. “We decided to try to fix my seat at Pocono and continue on.”

But Ware’s back pain continued and he was forced to exit the Pocono 400 after completing just 35 of 160 laps.

The Pocono race was Ware’s third start of the year. He made his Cup debut at Atlanta, where he finished last due to a steering issue.

Ware has also made two Camping World Truck Series starts this season in the No. 50 Chevrolet owned by Mark Beaver. He finished 22nd at Kansas and 18th at Dover.

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Chase Elliott fastest in final NASCAR Cup practice at Atlanta

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Chase Elliott was fastest in Saturday’s final practice for Sunday’s Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The second-year Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver, son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott and who grew up about 85 miles away in Dawsonville, Georgia, was the only driver over 188 mph, covering the 1.54-mile oval at 188.015 mph.

Brad Keselowski was second-fastest (187.602 mph), followed by Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch (187.576), AJ Allmendinger (187.519) and Denny Hamlin (187.506) was fifth-fastest.

Jimmie Johnson, who is going for his third consecutive win at AMS and sixth overall in his Cup career, was 23rd fastest (183.905 mph).

Derrike Cope, who will make his first Cup start Sunday since 2011, was 38th fastest (173.864 mph), while Cody Ware had engine problems and was the slowest at 164.628 mph.

Click here for the full field rundown of the final NASCAR Cup practice.

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Kevin Harvick wins Atlanta pole, second at track in four seasons

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With his new Ford power, Kevin Harvick overtook Ryan Newman and Kyle Busch to claim the pole for Sunday’s Fold of Honor Quik Trip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

A speed of 190.398 mph gave Harvick his 18th Cup pole and his second at Atlanta in four seasons. Harvick is looking for his first win at Atlanta since 2001, when he claimed his first Cup win in his third start.

“That was by far the best of the three laps and we saved it perfectly for the end,” Harvick told Fox Sports 1.

It’s the first pole for Stewart-Haas Racing since it moved to Ford from Chevrolet and comes after Kurt Busch won the Daytona 500.

“This is just a huge credit to everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing,” Harvick said. “For the last few weeks we’ve been in the simulator, we’ve been in the shop. These guys have been in and out of the wind tunnel, they’ve cut bodies off. It’s hard to explain how big of a transition this has been for the whole company.”

Newman, who will start second, missed out on his first pole since 2013 and the chance to pass Buddy Baker for the most poles at Atlanta. Both are tied with seven.

“I really wanted to beat my ‘ol buddy, Buddy Baker’s record there, I’ve been tied with him for a while so that was kind of rough,” Newman told FS1. “This is the litmus test for us for a lot of the rest of the season and it was a good start for sure.”

Filling out the top five is Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Brad Keselowski.

Kurt Busch will start 13th in his first race since winning the Daytona 500.

David Ragan‘s No. 38 suffered significant right rear damage in round one after he got loose and made contact with the wall exiting Turn 2. He will start 34th.

Five drivers didn’t make a lap in the first round: Derrike Cope, Cody Ware, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Michael McDowell and Cole Whitt.

Click here for the full qualifying results.

Cody Ware to make Cup debut at Atlanta

Photo courtesy of Rick Ware Racing
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Cody Ware will make his NASCAR Cup debut this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, driving the No. 51 Chevrolet for Rick Ware Racing.

The 21-year-old son of Rick Ware has competed in 12 Xfinity and five Camping World Truck races in his career.

“I’m very honored to have this opportunity to make my Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut this weekend at Atlanta,” Cody Ware said in a statement from the team. “I’ve been very blessed throughout my racing career to compete in so many different series, but the chance to race in the Cup Series is something I’ve lived for since I started racing.”

“It is such an awesome deal, getting to go race in the Cup series with my dad. We share a passion in the sport, and I cannot wait to compete together at the highest level of motorsport in the country with my family.”

The team failed to qualify for the Daytona 500 with Timmy Hill as the driver.

Thirty-nine cars are on the preliminary entry list for Atlanta, meaning Cody Ware will be in the field even though his team does not have a charter.

Click here for Atlanta entry list