NASCAR fan-favorite named to replace Cody Ware

Cody Ware, Rick Ware Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Cody Ware, Rick Ware Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Ryan Newman never fully retired from NASCAR Cup Series competition after the 2021 season, and now he is set to return with Rick Ware Racing.

Cody Ware was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR after he was taken into custody and held on multiple charges, stemming from an altercation with a female in early April.

He was held on “assault by strangulation — inflict serious injury”, plus a misdemeanor charge of “assault on female”. While he was bonded out, he later faced two additional charges and turned himself in again. He was served with a warrant for “assault — inflict serious injury” and issued a criminal summons for “communicating threats”.

Ware had been in the midst of his second full season in the Cup Series behind the wheel of the No. 51 Ford for his father Rick Ware’s team. As a result, his indefinite suspension left the team needing to improvise when it came to their driver lineup on a week-to-week basis.

Their latest part-time replacement for Cody Ware is a longtime NASCAR fan-favorite: Ryan Newman.

Whether or not Ryan Newman would have been called upon to drive for Rick Ware Racing if Cody Ware had not been suspended is unknown, but it is Ware’s No. 51 Ford which Newman is set to drive in his four scheduled starts.

He is set to make his first start behind the wheel of the No. 51 Ford in the upcoming race at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, May 14.

The 45-year-old South Bend, Indiana native is also set to compete at Richmond Raceway on Sunday, July 30, Darlington Raceway again on Sunday, September 3, and Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 16.

Newman, who was recently named to NASCAR’s list of the 75 Greatest Drivers, is arguably the best driver to compete for a Rick Ware Racing team whose opportunities to run in the front half of the field are few and far between.

He is a 18-time winner at NASCAR’s top level and finished as high as second place in the championship standings. His most recent win came at Phoenix Raceway in March 2017.

The 2022 season was Newman’s first season without any Cup Series starts since 1999, which was before he made his series debut. He competed in every race from the 2002 Daytona 500 to the 2020 Daytona 500, before his 649-race streak was brought to an end due to injuries he suffered in a last-lap crash in the latter.

Ironically, he made his return at Darlington Raceway that year as well.

All-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list. dark. Next

Newman also plans to compete full-time in Tony Stewart’s SRX for a second straight summer this year after a runner-up finish in the championship standings in 2022. He won one race at Stafford Speedway last summer.