Ray Black Jr. to race full-time in Cup in 2018 with Rick Ware Racing

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Ray Black Jr. will race full-time for Rick Ware Racing in the Cup Series next year and compete against William Byron for Rookie of the Year honors

Black, 26, will make the move from the Xfinity Series to Cup to drive the No. 51.

Rick Ware told frontstretch.com his team purchased a charter for next season, guaranteeing the No. 51 a starting spot in every race. Ware did not disclose which team he purchased the charter from.

Black, native of Flagler Beach, Florida, made his Cup debut this year in the No. 51 at Chicagoland Speedway. He qualified 39th and finished last, 16 laps down.

He made two more starts, at Texas Motor Speedway (finished 34th) and Miami, where he placed 38th after being parked by NASCAR for not meeting minimum speed.

Black has 55 Xfinity starts since 2015 with a best finish of 12th in last July’s Daytona race. In 31 Camping World Truck Series starts his only top five and top 10 was a fifth-place finish in the 2015 season opener at Daytona.

Black was one of six drivers to pilot the No. 51 in 2017. Rick Ware Racing has fielded 418 Xfinity starts since 1995, but only made 30 Cup starts, its first coming in 2012 at Las Vegas with Timmy Hill.

The team didn’t make another Cup start until this season.

Ware also told fronstretch.com he would run a part-time No. 52 car with the expectation of it being driven by BJ McLeod, Cody Ware, Kyle Weatherman and John Graham.