NASCAR lands another full-time driver for 2021

Josh Bilicki, Rick Ware Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Josh Bilicki, Rick Ware Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Josh Bilicki is set to compete full-time for Rick Ware Racing in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, marking his first full-time ride.

Up until last week, Rick Ware Racing had not confirmed any of their drivers for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. Now they have confirmed not only multiple drivers but multiple full-time drivers.

Last week, they confirmed that Joey Gase is set to return to the team for a part-time effort throughout the upcoming season, and while the team haven’t confirmed it, James Davison says that he expects to be back for a part-time effort with them in 2021 as well.

To open up this week, they confirmed that Cody Ware is set to compete full-time behind the wheel of the #51 Chevrolet, which is officially classified as a Petty Ware Racing entry since it is run using a Richard Petty Motorsports charter.

After making this confirmation, Rick Ware Racing confirmed that they had another driver announcement coming today.

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All indications pointed toward that driver being Josh Bilicki, who has competed for the team on a part-time basis in each of the last four seasons but never on a full-time basis. Bilicki himself said that he had an announcement coming at the same time Rick Ware Racing did, and the team even retweeted a photo he posted of himself driving one of their cars in 2020.

Indeed, Bilicki is set to drive for the team in 2021, but not as a part-time driver. They have confirmed that he is set to compete full-time behind the wheel of the #52 Chevrolet for the first time this year.

Here is what the 25-year-old Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin native had to say about this opportunity in a team release.

"“I could not be more excited and blessed for the opportunity to take the next step in my career and compete full time in the NASCAR Cup Series with Rick Ware Racing in 2021. I made my NASCAR Cup Series debut with Rick Ware Racing in 2017, and I have seen firsthand how hard Rick and Lisa have worked to grow this team to what it is today.  To be able to call RWR my home in 2021 is a dream come true, and I am excited to continue to further my career and help grow this organization.”"

Here is what team owner Rick Ware had to add.

"“I’m excited to have Josh Bilicki on board as a primary driver for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. Josh drove for us part time over the course of the last few years and has always done a great job representing RWR, in and out of the car.  I am looking forward to seeing him grow as a driver and bring home some solid finishes this year.”"

In 35 career Cup Series starts, Bilicki has career-high finishes of 25th place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2020) and Kansas Speedway (2020) and an average finish of 33.5.

Insurance Kings and Junction Fuels are set to serve as partners onboard the #52 entry, with additional partners, including a Daytona 500 primary sponsor, to be announced in due time.

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The #52 car is a chartered entry, meaning that it is guaranteed a starting spot in each of the 36 races on the schedule. The 2021 season is scheduled to get underway in under four weeks on Sunday, February 14 with the 63rd annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, which is set to be broadcast live on Fox beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.