NASCAR Cup Series driver shuts down departure rumor

Justin Haley had been rumored to switch teams after the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season, but he has since put that rumor to rest.
Justin Haley, Rick Ware Racing, NASCAR
Justin Haley, Rick Ware Racing, NASCAR / James Gilbert/GettyImages

With the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season having reached its halfway point, rumors have been swirling regarding where certain drivers may find themselves competing in 2025. One driver who has been the subject of some of those rumors is Justin Haley.

Haley, who previously competed for Kaulig Racing in both the Xfinity Series and the Cup Series, parted ways with the team to head to Rick Ware Racing for 2024. Though the Concord, North Carolina-based team is certainly not an A-tier team, and it may have been viewed as a downgrade compared to his previous team, Haley has made the most out of his equipment.

Haley sits in 30th place in the point standings after 18 races behind the wheel of the No. 51 Ford, and while that may not seem like an accomplishment to most, it's progress for Rick Ware Racing. The No. 51 team has never finished higher than 34th in the owner standings.

Additionally, Haley has two top 10 finishes this season. The No. 51 Ford had one total top 10 finish over the last seven years heading into 2024. For Rick Ware Racing, Haley's arrival has provided a sign of hope.

But with such progress made, rumors started to swirl that Justin Haley could be leaving for a better team next year.

On the Door, Bumper, Clear podcast, it was mentioned that Haley was "potentially" rumored to join 23XI Racing, RFK Racing, and Wood Brothers Racing. 23XI Racing or RFK Racing would have to purchase a third charter to make it happen, most likely from Stewart-Haas Racing. Stewart-Haas Racing recently announced their plans to cease operations after the 2024 season.

But there had already been rumors of Wood Brothers Racing moving on from Harrison Burton after the 2024 season, which led to the rumor that Haley could be Burton's replacement in 2025.

For a Team Penske-affiliated team that is struggling to compete with a car that made the playoffs in 2020, a replacement driver is almost a no-brainer. Wood Brothers Racing would be an upgrade for Haley, and a move to the No. 21 Ford would allow him to stay with Ford as he continues to chase his first playoff berth.

However, these rumors have been dispelled by Haley himself.

Haley stated in an interview with that his loyalty lies solely with Rick Ware Racing, and if team owner Rick Ware wants him to stay for five or 10 years, he will do that, as Ware gave him an opportunity that no one else would for 2024.

He went on to add that he gambled his whole career and everything he had done on Ware and the vision he had for his team. That ''gamble'' has seemingly turned into a gift for both parties.

NASCAR changes New Hampshire results shortly after the race ends. NASCAR changes New Hampshire results shortly after the race ends. dark. Next

The duo have undoubtedly found chemistry together, and while a playoff berth this season may be out of the question, 2025 could be a strong year for both. By dispelling some of the rumors, Haley has demonstrated his commitment and loyalty to the team, an openness that should help that relationship moving forward.