The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office listed Ware’s bond at $3,000. Ware was out on bond Monday afternoon. He is scheduled to appear in North Carolina District Court on May 1.
NASCAR has indefinitely suspended Ware.
Rick Ware Racing issued a statement Monday:
“We are aware of the incident regarding Cody Ware and his indefinite suspension from NASCAR competition. We understand NASCAR’s position on this matter and accept their decision.
“The matter is still under investigation and Cody is fully cooperating with the authorities, as due process takes its course. RWR is committed to continuing our multi-car efforts in the NASCAR Cup Series and is in the process of finalizing our plans for the No. 51 entry at Martinsville Speedway, and beyond.
“These plans will be announced in the coming days.”
An incident report from the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office reported that the incident took place April 3.
BRISTOL, Tenn. — Cody Ware will not compete this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway to “focus on a personal matter,” according to a statement Saturday from Rick Ware Racing.
Matt Crafton will drive the No. 51 Cup car for Rick Ware Racing this weekend.
Rick Ware Racing stated: “Cody Ware will step away from racing this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway to focus on a personal matter. Matt Crafton will drive the No. 51 Ford Mustang for Rick Ware Racing. Crafton has more than 500 overall-starts in his NASCAR career, winning back-to-back NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championships in 2013 and 2014.
“The Ware family asks that their privacy be respected during this time.”
The 27-year-old Ware is in his third full-time season in Cup. He has made 97 Cup starts since 2017.
#NASCAR … Matt Crafton will drive the 51 tonight for Cody Ware. Crafton explains when he found out about the opportunity, the work to get him to fit in Cody’s seat and driving a Next Gen car. pic.twitter.com/s8tFjxI78h
The NASCAR on NBC analyst also sees how the dirt racing backgrounds of Reddick and Bell go well with the Next Gen car and could influence car owners to look there for future drivers.
“I think they’re that good, that talented,” Jarrett said of Reddick and Bell. “The background that they come from, I think, means a lot with the way they can handle these cars and what they can get out of them that others have a more difficult time getting.
“These are the two names, in my opinion, that as long as they stay with their current teams right now, they’re in the best position (to succeed). It’s going to be hard to dominate in a respect, but they’re going to win more often than a lot of others out there.”
Since the start of last year’s playoffs at Darlington Raceway, Bell has two wins, tied with Reddick and William Byron and trailing only reigning champion Joey Logano’s three wins. Bell’s 10 top 10s in that 16-race stretch are more than any driver in the series in that time except Denny Hamlin, who has 11 top 10s.
“I think what we’ve seen from them already,” Jarrett said of Reddick and Bell, “they’re just getting to the point now that they have the experience to know what to expect in these races at all different types of tracks.”
Both drivers have nearly the same number of starts. Reddick has 116 Cup starts, Bell has 114. Both have four Cup wins. Among current full-time Cup drivers, only Brad Keselowski scored more wins (eight) in his first 116 Cup starts than Reddick and Bell.
The next three races set up well for Bell, starting this weekend at Richmond Raceway. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has finished sixth or better in the last four Richmond races, including a runner-up result there last August.
Then comes the dirt race at Bristol. The 28-year-old will be among the favorites due to his extensive dirt racing background. Following Bristol is Martinsville. While Ross Chastain is remembered for his video game move the last time the series raced there, it was Bell who won the race. It marked the second time in the playoffs that Bell had to win to advance and did.
“The sky is definitely the limit,” crew chief Adam Stevens said of Bell after they won the Charlotte Roval playoff race last October. “He’s young. He’s getting better at a tremendous rate. He’s already extremely good. You can’t hide the talent that he has.”
The 27-year-old Reddick is making an impact with his new team. Toyotas struggled last year on road courses — even with Bell winning at the Charlotte Roval. Reddick had the dominant car at COTA, giving Toyota its first victory of the season.
“It’s why I went after him as early as I did,” said Hamlin, co-owner of 23XI Racing, after Reddick’s victory last weekend. “I wanted to get the jump on all the other teams because I knew he was going to be the most coveted free agent in a very, very long time. That’s why I got the jump on it. It cost me a lot of money to do it, but it pays dividends.
“You have to have that driver that you feel like can carry you to championships and wins for decades. I think we have that guy. It’s not going to stop at road courses. Dirt racing, short tracks, speedways, he’s got what it takes on every racetrack we go to.”
After making his series debut in 2013, Reddick ran a majority of the 2014 Truck schedule for Brad Keselowski’s team. He finished second in points in 2015 and won three races with Keselowski’s team before moving to Chip Ganassi Racing’s Xfinity team in 2017.
Reddick went to JR Motorsports in 2018 and won the Xfinity championship. He repeated in 2019 but won the crown with Richard Childress Racing. He moved to RCR’s Cup program in 2020, breaking out with victories at Road America, the Indianapolis road course and Texas.
Bell’s path was groomed by Toyota Racing Development, taking him from the dirt tracks all the way to Cup. He claimed the 2017 Truck title and won 15 of 66 Xfinity starts (22.7%) in 2018-19, his two full-time seasons in that series.
Eventually, Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota decided to replace Erik Jones with Bell in 2021. Bell had his breakout season last year, winning at New Hampshire, the Charlotte Roval and Martinsville.
Jarrett sees that talent in both Reddick and Bell, in part, from their dirt backgrounds.
“I really just believe it’s their car control is what I like the best,” Jarrett said. “You see someone like Reddick and what he did at COTA and what we saw him do a couple of times on road courses last year and the fact that he can make his car go that fast but yet not have to give up. That’s a talent that you’re able to do that.
“Christopher Bell does a lot of the same things. We see this come out on the short tracks and the difficult tracks where tire conservation means a little bit. It’s not that they’re trying to conserve the tire, it’s just their driving experience and driving abilities allow them not to abuse the tires on these cars as much as others are having to to try to match that speed that they have.”
The Appeals Panel rescinded the 100-point penalty to Hendrick drivers Alex Bowman, William Byron and Kyle Larson, as well as the 10-point playoff penalty to each.
“A points penalty is a strong deterrent that is necessary to govern the garage following rule book violations, and we believe that it was an important part of the penalty in this case and moving forward,” NASCAR stated.
The Appeals Panel agreed with NASCAR that Hendrick Motorsports violated the rules by modifying the hood louvers of each of its cars. NASCAR discovered the issue before practice March 10 at Phoenix and took the hood louvers after that practice session.
The Appeals Panel kept the the $100,000 fines and four-race suspension to each of the four Hendrick crew chiefs for the infraction.
The Appeals Panel did not explain its reasoning for altering NASCAR’s penalty.
Hendrick Motorsports stated three key elements when it announced that it would appeal the penalties. Those three factors were:
“Louvers provided to teams through NASCAR’s mandated single-source supplier do not match the design submitted by the manufacturer and approved by NASCAR
“Documented inconsistent and unclear communication by the sanctioning body specifically related to louvers
“Recent comparable penalties issued by NASCAR have been related to issues discovered during a post-race inspection.”
NASCAR removed one word — or — so there was no option between a point penalty or fine but that such an infraction would constitute a point penalty and fine.
The question is if NASCAR will make any changes to the Rule Book this time to prevent the Appeals Panel from altering a similar penalty as the Hendrick infraction in such a way again — maybe something that more clearly states that an infraction found before a race is a point penalty.
This was only the second time in the Next Gen era that a team was penalized points for an infraction found before the race. The other case was when Cody Ware’s car failed pre-qualifying inspection four times. At the time, the Cup Rule Book stated that such an infraction was an L1 penalty. Such a penalty could result in a 20-point penalty, which Cody Ware and team owner Rick Ware received.
Another key question is what, if anything, will NASCAR do to improve quality control of parts that teams get from vendors.
“We as a company, we in the garage, every one of these teams here are being held accountable to put their car out there to go through inspection and perform at the level they need to,” he said March 17 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “The teams are being held accountable for doing that.
“Nobody is holding the single-source providers accountable at the level that they need to be to give us the parts we need. That goes through NASCAR’s distribution center and NASCAR’s approval process to get those parts, and we’re not getting the right parts.”
3. Single-file restarts
The overtime restarts last weekend at Circuit of the Americas have led to talk about if NASCAR should consider single-file restarts for all or some of its road courses.
Joey Logano discussed the notion on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio this week, saying: “There’s a lot of different opinions floating around. Probably the best I’ve heard is single-file restarts on road courses.”
The key issue is that at COTA and the Indianapolis road course both have a long straightaway for drivers to build speed before barreling into a sharp turn — at COTA it’s a hairpin left-hand turn, at Indy it’s a sharp right-hand turn.
Last year at Indy, Ryan Blaney was fourth on the last restart and got spun. While a single-file restart likely would have lessened the chances of such an incident, it also would have lowered Blaney’s chances to win because he would have been further away from the leader.
“The single-file restart is something I’ve been hearing around, and at some tracks I could see it working,” Blaney said, noting COTA and Indy.
He admits, that’s not the only idea.
“Do you move the restart zone?” Blaney said. “Do you give the leader more of an opening window of when to go? At COTA … do you give the leader the choice where he can go anytime between (Turn) 19 and the restart zone? So you kind of have like a short stint, slow down, turn, and then you have your long straightaway to where it kind of gaps everybody.
“You’re still doing double-file, but it kind of gaps (the cars) a little bit to where it’s not everyone nose-to-tail 15 rows deep diving in there. There’s a lot of differing opinions and ideas that are floating around, and we’ll see what we come up with, but, personally, from a driver’s standpoint it just gets messy.”
There’s time for NASCAR to decide if anything needs to be done. The next Xfinity race is June 3 at Portland. The next Cup road course race is June 11 at Sonoma.
“I don’t think you need to do anything for Sonoma,” Blaney said. “The way the restart zone is there it’s slow and you’re going up the hill right away. You don’t get the four-wide kind of thing there, so I don’t think Sonoma is anything we need to be working on.”
After that will be the inaugural Xfinity and Cup races at the Chicago street course on July 1-2. That course has a sharp left-hand turn shortly after the start/finish line that could replicate the chaos seen in restarts at COTA and Indy.
“I think Chicago is gonna be wild no matter what you do,” Blaney said.
4. Another new short track winner?
Sunday presents the opportunity for a ninth consecutive different winner of a short track race on pavement.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Finished first: “They left me a note in the car that said they believe in me and to go get the job done tonight. I made a few mistakes. We were able to battle back. This team worked really, really hard in the offseason, great pit stops, Hendrick engines. Man, this is unbelievable. This was the site of my last win back in 2017. We’ve worked really hard. We had a couple shots last year to get a win and fell short. It was a tough season, but man, we got it done. Daytona 500.
“When (Kyle Busch) went to the bottom there, I was able to push (Joey Logano) and (Kyle Larson). We had a huge run. I was hoping we were going to get to the white there, and we didn’t, so I knew I was going to take the top. I was hoping (Logano) was going to follow, and he did. He was able to push us out. I went to the bottom,(Busch) and (Logano) got a huge run. (Larson) split me in the middle, but another fellow dirt racer with (Christopher) Bell gave me a good shot down the little short chute into 1, and we were out front when the caution came out. We were out of fuel so the fuel light was going crazy. I hope y’all had fun. That was a heck of a race.”
JOEY LOGANO — Finished second: “Second is the worst, man. You’re so close. Leading the white flag lap there, I was up front. Kyle gave me a good push and, yeah, you’re watching in the mirror and you’re three wide across there. I felt like the three wide was going a hurt a lane; looked like Kyle was getting pushed ahead, and then Ricky started getting pushed ahead.
“I knew if I went to the bottom, my car didn’t handle good enough. I already got pushed off the bottom once, and I thought, ‘If I go down there, I’m probably going to get wrecked, and I don’t know if I can get down there in time to throw the block and so I didn’t want to wreck my car either.’ Then you don’t expect them to wreck either. You think you’re racing to the checkered flag, and you put yourself in the best position to try to win at the start-finish line, and just caution came out. You wish you could race to the end. Obviously, you can’t when they wreck that much. Congratulations to Ricky. There’s nothing like winning the Daytona 500. That’s why it stings so much finishing second. Still proud of the team, still proud of the effort coming off the championship last year and bringing this Mustang back toward the front and getting a Ford close to the front. Wish it was in victory lane, though.”
Christopher Bell — Finished third: “If you would have told me prerace that I was going to run third, I would have jumped up and down and been smiling ear-to-ear. I’m very happy. I’m very, very thankful that I could get this Toyota Camry a good solid finish but just so close to a crown jewel. I feel like if it would have stayed green, I would have been on offense, but who knows. I’m very proud and thankful to be here at Joe Gibbs Racing. I’m happy for Ricky (Stenhouse, Jr.). That’s really cool. I’m very happy for him. … I hate superspeedway racing. It has been my Achilles heel for a number of years now, so just running third at the Daytona 500 is a really big deal, and I’m sure tomorrow I will be really happy – but right now, I’m just bummed because I feel like we were in position there, but overall – I’m really happy for Ricky (Stenhouse, Jr.). He’s won multiple speedway races and been very close at others. Happy for him and can’t wait to go to Auto Club.”
Chris Buescher — Finished fourth: “Yeah, at the end of the day, yeah. We were up front a lot of the day between both of our cars and there is a ton to be proud of. I can’t thank everyone back at RFK enough. The Mustang was quick, and I love that. Just got a little behind there in the first overtime and survived the next one. Somehow we made it through all of that and picked up all kinds of spots. Ultimately even getting back to fourth, it should feel good, but I feel like we had more in us today and just weren’t able to hoist that trophy up.”
Alex Bowman — Finished fifth: “It’s the Daytona 500, and we know how to crash some stuff. It was just super aggressive and a lot of pushing. You know you have to do it and sometimes they go wrong and crashes happen. Just proud of my team and glad we were able to make it out clean. Just starting the year off strong on the right foot. Not only here but at the Coliseum as well. I enjoy California. It’s been hit or miss for me, but looking forward to getting back there.”
Daniel Suarez — Finished seventh: “It was a little bit crazy, but I told the team they did a hell of a job. We lacked track position most of the day, and when it mattered the most, we had it. We just spun out there, and I was just struggling with loose balance when people would get to the rear bumper for some reason. That one, (Austin Cindric) came very close to me, very tight and the car behind me came very close as well and got me loose. We recovered and we are getting better at this kind of racing and we are going to get one of these one day.”
Ryan Blaney — Finished eighth: “You know, unfortunately getting tore up in the second stage and I thought we did a good job fixing it and staying in it and got a couple of laps back and were able to get it driving decent enough to where we lined up in the top-15 and were able to miss some wrecks and finish okay. I am really proud of the effort to fix it and make it driveable and get a finish. It is unfortunate that we couldn’t race for a win.”
Riley Herbst — Finished 10th: “It was long and a lot of riding, not really racing. I was kind of biding my time and trying to get experience. To finish top-10 was really cool. I am thankful for the opportunity to be here in the Cup Series and really happy with the finish in our first 500.”
TRAVIS PASTRANA — Finish 11th: “Just to be in the hunt at the end. We weren’t in the hunt for the win but to be in the top 10 on that last restart, this exceeded all my expectations. Obviously, it’s disappointing now because you want to do the best you can. I was really trying not to crash and unfortunately, when things got tight in there, I wasn’t able to control it on the top with the push. I led a lap, but it was by mistake. They said, ‘Come in, no stay out.’ I’m like, ‘I’m already out.’ I led a lap at the Daytona 500 and finished top 20. The car is not a complete write off, so the kid’s college fund is intact. It was a win, and it was awesome.
“This exceeded all of my expectations as far as results. These are the best drivers in the world. I’m not a great rear-wheel driver, I’m not a great pavement driver. Restrictor plate racing is a little different. We had a great team with this 23XI Toyota team, and it was an honor to be on the track with these guys. It was amazing that we were able to put it in the top 20. I’m proud of everyone involved and so thankful to be here.”
“As excited as I am right now, I might sleep for the next week. I am mentally and physically completely drained. … This was one of the greatest if not the greatest weeks or couple of weeks of my life.”
KYLE LARSON — Finished 18th: “I’m OK. It was definitely a huge hit. It was my first time wearing that mouthpiece (that helps record the forces during a crash impact), so I’m curious to see what that reads, but it was definitely one of the bigger ones I’ve ever had. But thankfully, the car held up, I guess, and all my safety equipment was fine, and I’m fine. Just a bummer.
“Everybody in the top four to six has an opportunity to win there. I had such a run from (Christopher Bell). I didn’t know what to do with it. I felt like where I was going to get to (Stenhouse), I wanted to stay committed to him at least through (turns) 1 and 2 and down the backstretch and then have things work out. I definitely didn’t want to try and go for the lead as early as I did. I just had such a run. I didn’t know what to do with it. I thought if I got to him where I was going to get to him, it was going to choke us up or cause a crash, and then we weren’t going to win. I wish I could play that over again, but (I’m) happy that Ricky won. That’s all I could think about it after I crashed was waiting to get out to hear that he won. Super happy for his team and Chevrolet but wish I could have at least finished it.”
If only it was ‘98… Really thought we had that one. Bummed but proud of our 8 group for sticking w it this wknd n giving us a real good backup car. Good things to come this yr. 👊🏻 pic.twitter.com/IJEFRyvCFt
KYLE BUSCH — Finished 19th: “I just tried to keep it straight as much as I can and wait for when its going to happen and eventually it does, and it did again today. So, I tried, and I don’t know what else to do. Come up short. Led Lap 200 and wish it was still 1998 rules. Yeah, definitely excited for the start of the season and getting to the real racetracks.”
Noah Gragson — Finished 24th: “I thought we had a decent run until the end. We put ourselves in position in the top 10 and then made a couple of mistakes and got caught up in the big wreck at the end with the last caution. Thankful for the opportunity. We’re going to continue to work hard and grow as a team. Really proud of (crew chief) Luke Lambert and the boys for the adversity we had. Never quit. We’re not going to quit. Just very thankful.”
Harrison Burton — Finished 26th: “I am just disappointed. We were leading with 18 to go and I feel like we had a shot. It just didn’t go our way. The outside just didn’t really get rolling and we didn’t get organized very well and by the time we did it was just a little too late. I feel like when the 22 pulled up in front of me I tried to slow down to engage him and I got hit by the 8 really hard and send the 22 three-wide and we lost momentum again. I don’t know why I got out of shape off of four but I about wrecked off of four. Then you’re buried in the back trying to make moves to get back up and when they wreck you are just right in the way. It is frustrating. I felt like we executed our race well. Just sucks not to win for sure.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON — Finished 31st: “All in all, just a great day. I hate that we didn’t get to the finish line, but we got a lot closer than I thought. If I would have taken a bet before the race started, I would have thought some issues earlier than that, but we had a great day. The Carvana car was awesome. Very, very proud of this race team. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the finish line.”
Justin Haley — Finished 32nd: “We had a great run going there for a while. We were unfortunately just caught up in what was ultimately just one of those green-white-checkered deals that are inevitable at superspeedways. We struggled a little bit all weekend. This package is pretty tough to pass with, but it was fun to be up there battling in the top 10 there for a bit.”
Austin Dillon — Finished 33rd: “We had a strategy there, and it just didn’t play out. We weren’t as good as some of the Fords to be able to tandem and get hooked up. (Brad Keselowski) just drove through (William Byron), and that is just what he does. His car is just good enough to where he can just drive through who he needs to and push them out of the way, or wreck them. That is the desperation that they are in right now. I hate it because I was wanting to get Kyle Busch in victory lane here at Daytona. Looking back I should have been a little more selfish at that point. I wish we would have just tried to block both lanes, truthfully. It was one of those deals that is a hard position to be in. I also wish it had gone to the white flag in the position we were in. Unfortunately not, and hopefully Kyle (Busch) can still make something happen from sixth. RCR as a whole, it was pretty cool to get to where we got there and be 1-2 at the Daytona 500 with two laps to go. It sucks because you are so close to winning a second Daytona 500 and your teammate was really close to winning his first ever. We will take it and move on and we did it with not the fastest cars truthfully. It was just execution and we didn’t finish off the last part.”
WILLIAM BYRON — Finished 34th: “I got into (Kyle Busch), and we just got off center somehow and I wrecked him. Once he got off center, I tried to back up but I had (Brad Keselowski) in the back of me trying to push as well. Yeah, unfortunate because we were trying to put ourselves in the right position and we were in a really good spot there with about two to go and running third before that caution. It seemed like when they did the teammate restart it really checked up the bottom lane and I had made my bed of trying to take that lane to have momentum off of turn two. That was unfortunate.”
Chase Briscoe — Finished 35th: “We were coming off that pit sequence and everybody was such different speeds and you could definitely tell the intensity was ratcheting up. Everybody was just making really aggressive blocks trying to position themselves for the end. I don’t know. We just all checked up into one and it was a bad wreck for Stewart-Haas because all four of us were stuck in that. I just hate it. It felt like we were in position. We talked about what our plan was going into it and felt like we were executing that, but we just needed a little luck at the end to go with it. We’ll move on to California and see if we can improve. Obviously, we need to improve. We finished 34th again, so that’s what we’ll try to do.”
Ryan Preece — Finished 36th: ““Everybody was on green0flag cycles. People trying to block the rows are trying to cycle in and I just want to focus on the fact that we had such a fast Ford Mustang. This opportunity is exactly what I wanted, so it’s unfortunate because I felt like we were gonna put ourselves in position to give ourselves an opportunity to be in contention to win this race, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Hopefully, we keep unloading fast Ford Mustangs like we did this weekend and we’ll have some fun.”
Erik Jones — Finished 37th: “It looked like (Tyler Reddick) got turned around, but I couldn’t see how it happened. Regardless, we spun out there on the bottom when I was trying to get around it, and then I got hit on the left side hard enough to take out the left rear and end our day. It is what it is. We were up there; we were racing and we were doing all we could. We were just in the wrong spot at the wrong time. I wish we could have been a little ahead of him. Everybody was racing hard, but everybody was doing a good job of just keeping in line and doing what they needed to do. There were a couple of moments.. a couple of aggressive and bad pushes, but nothing that was too crazy. I don’t know what sprung that one off, but I thought everybody was doing a good job at that point. It started to get pretty aggressive up until that wreck and I was getting antsy about being up there and getting into something. We were kind of in a bad spot in the pack to get caught up in something. Obviously, it’s a superspeedway, so there’s not a ton you can take from this weekend. I thought our No. 43 Guns N’ Roses Chevy was good, it just needed some more speed.”
Chase Elliott — Finished 38th: “It looked like some guys got tangled up, upfront. Those of us in the back were just scattering to kind of miss it. It looked like (Kyle Larson) and (Erik Jones) kind of went to the apron. By the time we got slowed up, they were coming back across the track and I was the lucky winner to get there first. It’s a bummer. Long ways to go. Hate to end the day, but it is what it is.”
TYLER REDDICK — Finished 39th: “I really felt like we could push really well and make progress through the pack. I just had been not really in the lead much at all today. That was the first time I was getting any pushes in the lead. The car seemed a little unstable down the back straightaway. Kevin was trying to push me, and I just lost it. If I’d have known that earlier in the day, I probably would have been more careful about that. But that was really the first experience I had with that all day long. I was kind of caught off guard by what happened in the corner there, unfortunately. That was the first time I’d been put in that situation, got loose, and unfortunately took out some other good cars.”