NASCAR driver reinstated after suspension, eligible for 2024 return

Cody Ware, who was arrested in April, has been reinstated by NASCAR after all assault charges were dropped. His 2024 plans remain unconfirmed.
Cody Ware, NASCAR
Cody Ware, NASCAR / Logan Riely/GettyImages

Cody Ware had been in the midst of his second consecutive season as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver with his father's Rick Ware Racing team back in April when he was arrested by the Iredell County (North Carolina) Sheriff’s Office after an altercation with his then-girlfriend.

He was held on a felony charge of “assault by strangulation — inflict serious injury” and a misdemeanor charge of “assault on female”.

Following his arrest, NASCAR suspended him indefinitely, and he did not end up competing in any more races throughout the 2023 season.

He finished the year with a top finish of 14th place in the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, and he competed in only seven events, the most recent of which being the early April race at Richmond Raceway. Seven drivers ended up driving the No. 51 Ford at some point throughout the 2023 season's final 29 races.

Cody Ware reinstated by NASCAR

All of the charges were dropped last Thursday after both Ware and his then-girlfriend decided not to cooperate with prosecutors. She had been charged with simple assault in September.

According to Fox Sports' Bob Pockrass, Rick Ware Racing spent over $300,000 to find drivers to replace Cody for the remainder of the 2023 season, and they lost more than $3.5 million in sponsorship.

Both the team and team owner Rick Ware himself filed lawsuits against Ware's then-girlfriend, accusing her of making false statements to damage Cody and the team. Those are also expected to be dismissed.

Here is what Cody had to say, following his reinstatement.

"“I’ve maintained my innocence from the very beginning even as there was a rush to judgment by others. I’m glad this entire matter is behind me because it’s been an incredibly difficult eight months. With all the allegations being dismissed, I’m thankful to have my life back.”"

Cody Ware

While Ware is now officially eligible to return to NASCAR, whether or not he competes during the 2024 season remains to be seen.

Rick Ware Racing are one of three teams that still have an open seat for the 2024 season. They have already brought in Justin Haley from Kaulig Racing to compete for them full-time, and they have made a habit of running at least one shared entry. But perhaps they were waiting on the outcome of Cody's situation before making any confirmations about the second seat.

Next. NASCAR: 5 teams changing their driver lineups for 2024. NASCAR: 5 teams changing their driver lineups for 2024. dark

In 97 career Cup Series starts, Ware's best finish is a sixth place finish at Daytona in August 2022. Not since 2016 has he not competed throughout an entire season.