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Rick Ware Racing: All-Star Car or Full-Time Driver?

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

Rick Ware Racing is one of the most interesting NASCAR Cup Series teams heading into 2024. It’s also one of only two chartered Cup Series teams to not have a finalized driver lineup only about 3 weeks out from the Clash. With so little time heading into the season and no drivers officially announced, what path should Rick Ware Racing take, full-time driver or All-Star Car?

  • Rick Ware Racing already signed Justin Haley to a multi-year to pilot one car for the 2024 season and beyond. They have yet to announce what car number Haley will use in 2024.
  • RWR had a myriad of drivers race for them in 2023, with J.J. Yeley leading the team in starts with 26. Yeley got the team’s best finish, 7th at Atlanta in the summer. Still, the team’s two cars finished 34th and 35th in the owner’s standings, and they nearly lost a charter.
  • Fans are curious to see how RWR does in 2024. The alliance with the resurgent RFK Racing makes this team an interesting one along with the new driver.

The Case For or Against An All-Star Car

An “All-Star Car” can be a great tool for race teams to earn owner’s points. The Owner’s Points are what NASCAR uses to pay the teams at the end of the season, and, finishing in the bottom three for three consecutive seasons means NASCAR has the right to revoke a team’s charter.

The logic is that instead of relying on one driver, teams put multiple drivers in the car based on what track types they are good at. Putting multiple drivers in the car based on their strengths should theoretically lead to a season where the car wins races and finishes high in the Owner’s Standings. Kaulig Racing fielded this type of car in 2023, and it made the Owner’s Playoffs, which forced Daniel Hemric to switch from the #11 to the #10 so he could race in both the Driver’s and Owner’s Playoffs.

Rick Ware Racing has used at least one car as an “All-Star Car” since it purchased its first charters in 2018. The results have not been great, but, a lot of that can be chalked up to RWR’s lackluster equipment. Still, there is one problem that an “All-Star Car” brings, a lack of continuity.

Having multiple drivers race in the car throughout the season can be a problem for a team trying to develop. Crew members and crew chiefs cannot build chemistry with one driver, and they instead have to work with multiple drivers throughout the season. This makes it tough to get the best out of drivers or the race team. It also makes it tough to get drivers since many would prefer full-time.

With Rick Ware Racing under pressure to show genuine improvement in 2024, is trying to put multiple drivers in the car the best route?

The Case For a Full-Time Driver

Putting a full-time driver in the ride allows the team to get some much-needed continuity. As time goes on, a driver develops chemistry with a crew chief, spotter, and the race team as a whole.

It also puts the driver firmly in the driver’s standings race, which usually gets more media attention and fan attention than the Owner’s Points. If Rick Ware Racing were to win a race, the driver would make the Playoffs, which would give the team and the driver more publicity every week and especially during the Playoffs.

However, having only one driver means that, if RWR hires wrong, they are stuck with that driver for the entire season. This could be a problem, especially with how desperately this team needs to improve this season.

Having only one driver means RWR cannot hedge their bets on multiple drivers based on track type. If they mess up, then that’s it.

Which side of the fence do you fall on? Should RWR come up with a true teammate for Justin Haley, or should they field another “All-Star Car”?

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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