Throughout the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, one driver has been able to rile fanbases of some of the sport’s most popular drivers.
Whenever a driver competes on a NASCAR circuit, there is the inevitability that the driver will, at some point, be introduced to the element that makes the sport a “contact sport” sooner rather than later.
There have been several famous broadcast moments related to contact, such as Allen Bestwick hollering “The bump and run!” as Jeff Gordon moved Rusty Wallace out of the way at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2002, or Dale Earnhardt Jr. screaming “Slidejob!” as Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch collided at Chicagoland Speedway in 2018.
Throughout the 2022 season, similar moments have occurred, most notably in the dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway when Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe collided during the final lap in a battle for the win, leaving both without the checkered flag.
But in that very race, another storyline emerged when Rick Ware Racing’s Cody Ware decided to attempt to rough up Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott, claiming he was “tired of getting bullied by these guys”.
Following this unlikely pair of drivers colliding, Ware has since moved on to another “target”.
Earlier this week at Dover Motor Speedway, Ware lost control of his #51 Ford, seemingly not being able to brake down the nine-degree banking of the frontstretch. His spin ruined the day for Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and his #11 Toyota. Ironically, this wreck was less intentional than his failed attempt to wreck the #9 Chevrolet at Bristol.
Ware has been no stranger to showing frustration during his NASCAR career, but he has done so with a limited amount of justification. His career has been filled with DNFs and attempts at retaliation, including attempts to wreck his own teammates — teammates driving cars funded by his own father.
At this rate, Ware could play a part in manipulating races down the stretch, intentionally or not. With him attempting to wreck contenders and taking out others he doesn’t intend to, future races, including playoff races or even the Championship 4, could be shaped by his mishaps.