Rick Ware Racing is taking a massive step toward being a more competitive NASCAR Cup Series team for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season as the team will enter a technical alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing next season.
“I am very excited to announce this alliance and this relationship,” Rick Ware Racing team owner Rick Ware said. “There’s still going to be a lot of work to do as a small team, with the new car, but I feel we are making the right steps. We are going to continue to put everything we can into making it a great season in 2022.”
For Stewart-Haas Racing, this is the realization of a relationship that has been bolstered by working behind the scenes with Rick Ware Racing over the years.
“Trust is a big part of this sport,” Stewart-Haas Racing’s Joe Custer said. “The Ford family, I think exemplifies that. We work real close with Doug [Yates] and his team and Rick over the years, candidly. Sometimes it’s been a little bit behind the scene in different areas whether it be pit crew development and whatnot. But now we’re able to fully align and take it to the next level that his team wants to go.”
RWR has also reached a multi-year deal to feature Roush Yates Engines in their Ford Mustang Next Gen cars. As part of the deal with Roush Yates, RWR will have a leased engine package in 2021 Next Gen testing as well as the full NCS season in 2022 and 2023.
The announcement was made in a joint press conference on Sunday morning at Charlotte Motor Speedway with Ware, Custer and Roush Yates’ Doug Yates.
“I’m really excited to be here and be a part of this program with Rick Ware, his wife Lisa and Joe and Stewart-Haas,” Yates said. “We’ve had a really good relationship with Stewart-Haas and we are building on that with partnering with Rick. If you guys haven’t figured it out by now, Rick Ware is a racer. He’s looking to improve his program and Ford Performance is really proud to be a part of that.”
Rick Ware Racing has just three top-10 finishes in 426 starts in the NASCAR Cup Series. But it seems with the adaptation of the Next Gen car, the team is willing to go all-in to build their team into one that is much more formidable.
“We’re trying to prepare ourselves to become relevant in this sport,” Ware explained. “We’ve worked really hard in all other aspects into being competitive and to make sure we’re a great product for our sponsors. We’re a small team, we’re growing great sponsors.
“We’re a racer, but we have to pay our bills, we have to make a living. I have been waiting for this day to come, where we can have cars that are more consistent and closer together. To where I can — be where I am right now. For me, this is like a dream.”
While the new partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing and Roush Yates Engines is exciting, Ware knows there is still a lot of hard work to be done in the trenches within his team. And he doesn’t expect to be contending for wins overnight.
“This is hard work. We’re still going to get out butt kicked by a lot of people next year,” Ware explained. “But we need to step up dramatically, just to be relevant. I feel like if I wasn’t doing this, we would be in a bad situation.”
Ware’s team has had a stranglehold on four Charters, which has drawn criticism from fans and has caused people to use RWR as an example of why the NASCAR Charter system doesn’t work. Ware says he didn’t accumulate four Charters to keep them away from others. It was simply an investment, that is now allowing his team take the next step.
“Our goal is not to hoard all of these Charters, it’s to try to grow,” Ware stated. “My ultimate goal would be just to focus on a really strong two-car team going forward.”
Rick Ware Racing, which has operated as a four-car organization this season, appears to be ready to consolidate their amount of Charters, now, with the Charter price market heating up, for the sake of building a more competitive team overall.
Ware says his team will not be a four-car team in 2022, and it may not even be three-cars. Ware is working on options to bring a third car into 2022, but if the sponsorship and resources aren’t there, the team will drop down to a two-car effort in 2022.