Rick Ware

Rick Ware Racing to field full-time team in 2017 NASCAR Cup season

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Veteran NASCAR Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series team owner Rick Ware announced Friday that he will field a new full-time team in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for the 2017 season.

The Thomasville, North Carolina-based team will make its debut at next month’s 59th Daytona 500 and compete as an “open non-chartered” team. Sponsorship of the team will be announced at a later date, according to a media release.

In much the same way Rick Ware Racing has done with both its Xfinity and Truck teams over the years, there will a rotating roster of drivers that will pilot the No. 51 Chevrolet during the 2017 season.

Timmy Hill will be the first driver during Speedweeks and in the Daytona 500. Others slated to compete in subsequent races include longtime RWR drivers Stanton Barrett, Cody Ware and Kevin O’Connell.

Ware has purchased assets from Tommy Baldwin Racing including cars, pulldown rig and technology support.

In addition Ware has added Joe Lax, who will serve as crew chief of the No. 51, and Mike Hillman Sr., who will fill a newly-created role as a consultant.

“We’ve been eyeing our return to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series since the end of last year,” Ware said in a media release. “We knew with the competition level stronger than ever, we needed to take the steps to make sure we could come to the track and be as competitive as possible, while focused on building our organization as the season presses on.”

RWR has just one prior start in NASCAR’s premier series, coming at Las Vegas in 2012 when Hill finished last in a 42-car field after being involved in a wreck 42 laps into the 267-lap event.

Hill, 23, will have to race his way into the Daytona 500 by qualifying performance. It will be Hill’s 49th career NASCAR Cup start — but his first at Daytona. In addition, because RWR is a non-charter team, it and whichever driver is behind the wheel will have to qualify on performance for every NASCAR Cup race it enters.

After a one-year hiatus, RWR will also return to the Truck Series with Spencer Boyd as its driver. It is not expected to field an Xfinity Series program due to the upgrade to NASCAR Cup.

Last season in the Xfinity Series, fielding rides for 22 different drivers. Veteran driver Jeff Green had the best overall finish: seventh in the summer race at Daytona.

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Todd Peck to make Xfinity Series debut Saturday at Loudon

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Todd Peck is taking the next step up the NASCAR ladder.

Peck, a veteran of 14 Camping World Truck Series races, will make his debut in Saturday’s Lakes Region 200 Xfinity Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The 29-year-old Glenville, Pa., resident will drive the Rick Ware Racing-owned No. 15 Lily Trucking/BYB Extreme Chevrolet. It will be his second career race at New Hampshire, with his prior start being in a Truck.

“I’m really excited about this weekend. To be making my first Xfinity Series start is pretty special,” Peck said. “Needless to say, this is something I’ve always hoped for.

“We know that we have a steep learning curve ahead, but we’ll have Rick Ware and all of his team’s experience to give us a solid foundation to build on. I’ll have some of the crew from my truck series team there to help as well.

“They know me and my driving style, so they’ll have a lot of good input to help bring us up to speed. I hope to absorb as much as possible and leave this weekend and leave with a solid finish.”

Also making his Xfinity Series debut this weekend is Matt Wallace, son of veteran driver Mike Wallace and nephew of NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace and veteran driver Kenny Wallace.

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