Cody Ware, who has piloted the No. 51 Rick Ware Racing Ford Mustang in all seven races to start the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, will step aside this weekend to focus on a, “personal matter.”
According to Rick Ware Racing, three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Matt Crafton, will pilot the No. 51 Ford Mustang in the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol.
The team made the announcement in a statement that it shared on Saturday at around noon ET.
“Cody Ware will step away from racing this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway to focus on a personal matter. Matt Crafton will drive the No. 51 Ford Mustang for Rick Ware Racing. Crafton has more than 500 overall-starts in his NASCAR career, winning back-to-back NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championships in 2013 and 2014. The Ware family asks that their privacy be respected during this time,” the statement from the team read.
In addition to his three championships and 15 victories in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition, Crafton has made two-career starts in the NASCAR Cup Series with a best finish of 18th coming in 2015 while substituting for the injured Kyle Busch in the Daytona 500.
Crafton has also made four starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and has two top-five finishes and three top-10s in those four starts.
Ware, 27, has competed in a total of 97 NASCAR Cup Series events over the course of his career and has a career-best finish of sixth, which came in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway last September.
The son of RWR team owner Rick Ware sits 31st in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings after the opening seven races of the 2023 season.
In addition to his NASCAR Cup Series starts, Ware has amassed 28 starts in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, with one career top-10 finish and seven starts in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition.
Ware competed in all but one NASCAR Cup Series event a season ago.