Joey Hand to drive road course races for Rick Ware Racing

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Joey Hand will drive all six Cup road course races this season in the No. 15 for Rick Ware Racing, the team announced Thursday.

Hand drove for RWR at the Charlotte Roval last year, placing 27th in his first Cup start.

Hand has competed primarily in sports cars as a Ford factory driver. He was on the overall winning team in the 2011 Rolex 24 at Daytona and drove for the GTLM class winner in the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Hand also drove for the winning GTE-Pro team in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016.

Hand’s six Cup races this season will be: Circuit of the Americas (March 27), Sonoma (June 12), Road America (July 3), Indianapolis road course (July 30), Watkins Glen (Aug. 21) and Charlotte Roval (Oct. 9).

Hand, in a statement from the team, called this an “opportunity of a lifetime” to race in NASCAR.

“It has always been high on my list, and I had a ton of fun last year,” he said in a statement from the team. “Throughout the race weekend and the subsequent Next Gen test session, (car owner Rick Ware) and I developed a great relationship.

“With the introduction of the Next Gen car, I feel it levels the playing field and we have a legitimate chance of running up front. With support from Ford Performance and Stewart-Haas Racing, there is no reason why we shouldn’t be competitive at road courses. I feel I am already comfortable with the Next Gen car because of many similarities to the GT cars I have driven in the past.”

Sponsorship will be announced later.

Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Motorsports, said in a statement: “Joey has been a key resource for our NASCAR drivers the past couple of years as far as helping them with their road course skills, so seeing him get this opportunity with RWR is only going to make our program better.”