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Has Rick Ware Racing Improved in 2024?

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

Rick Ware Racing was one of the most intriguing race teams of the offseason, signing Justin Haley as their first-ever full-time driver. That signing paid dividends at Darlington as Haley finished 9th. It seems like RWR is finally getting better, but, how much better are they?

  • For most of its history, Rick Ware Racing has been little more than a backmarker in the NASCAR Cup Series. Some even speculated that the team could lose one of their charters in 2023, but, numerous investments caused NASCAR to allow them to keep their charters.
  • This season, RWR’s improvements off the track have turned into solid performances on the track. How much has everything actually helped?
  • Fans have noticed RWR’s improvements in 2024. They are excited to see if this gets any better.

Points Position

As of this writing, Rick Ware Racing sits 33rd (No. 51 car) and 34th (No. 15 car) in the owner’s standings. By itself, that’s not much of an improvement. Here is where RWR finished in the Owner’s Standings with their full-time entries since they joined the tour full-time in 2018.

YearPoints Position
201836th
201938th
202033rd and 36th
202133rd, 34th, 35th, and 36th
202234th and 35th
202334th and 35th

Where they’re currently at is one spot better than in 2022 and 2023. With Live Fast Motorsports selling their 36th place charter to Spire Motorsports for the No. 71 car, which now sits 36th, RWR has technically only jumped The Wood Brothers No. 21 car in the standings.

It’s also worth noting that RWR’s best owner’s points position in their history is 33rd. They’re about the same level as they have been in the points standings.

Obviously, no one was expecting RWR to jump into the Playoffs and win races right out of the gate. However, reading between the lines, we can see where RWR’s improvements truly have been.

Individual Races

Darlington was a statement race for RWR. Haley’s 9th-place finish was the first top-10 they’ve ever achieved on a non-superspeedway track. Their previous best was 16th in the 2023 Coca-Cola 600 with J.J. Yeley.

Kaz Grala also had a solid day finishing 18th, which gave RWR a double top-20 effort. That’s the second time it’s happened on a non-superspeedway track this year, Haley and Grala finished 17th and 19th respectively at Bristol earlier this year. RWR had never accomplished that before this year.

Even if it’s not reflected in the points standings, RWR is doing things they haven’t done before. They’re also doing this as a non-Tier One Ford team. Ford teams have already struggled to get their hands around the Ford Mustang Dark Horse, but, RWR is still finding ways to get better.

Both of the most notable RWR drivers, full-time driver Justin Haley and No. 15 anchor driver Kaz Grala, have performed well too. Haley (24.8) and Grala (25.2) have the top-2 best average finish of any RWR driver to compete in 10 or more races in a single season for the team. Maybe it’s not reflected in the points standings yet, but, the cars are running significantly better than in the past.

So, has Rick Ware Racing improved? They have, even if it’s tough to see in the big picture.

They’ve done so despite dealing with the struggles of the Ford Mustang Dark Horse while not even being a “Key Partner Team”. However, despite their strides, they still have a long way to go.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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