Rick Ware Racing will return to the Camping World Truck Series full-time in 2017, temporarily shutting down its XFINITY Series program.
Spencer Boyd will pilot the truck for the team for at least a portion of the races, the driver announced Friday on Twitter.
There has been talk within the team of possibly running a second part-time truck with various drivers filling the seat.
Cody Ware is coming off a season in which he competed in six XFINITY Series races, finishing a season-best 21st at Watkins Glen International. He also ran a pair of Truck Series events, including a 17th-place finish at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. He hopes for better in 2017 but also understands the reality of what many of the lower-level teams face in this sport, simply hoping to survive from race to race.
“I always have a healthy amount of skepticism until the year starts,” Cody Ware told Frontstretch via SMS. “I’m excited, but I’ve been let down in the past. Sponsors fall through, teams fold or change their agenda. Weird things can happen, but it’s all the nature of the beast. Racing is not the business to be in if you value security and peace of mind.”
Since entering the sport in 2014, Ware has competed in 17 NASCAR touring division races among the top three series. He attempted to qualify for his first Cup Series event at Sonoma Raceway in 2016, running with Premium Motorsports, but missed the show.
Ware also hopes to get back to the XFINITY Series at some point. But for now, a reduced schedule in the Truck Series is one of the main reasons why the team is heading back to its original roots.
“We have more time to properly prepare the race trucks, even if we don’t have extra money,” Ware said. “If not having money was bad enough, not having enough time is a nightmare. With several more off weekends, we can prepare in advance and get more work done in between races. In that time, we can be hunting for additional sponsors and drivers.”
Rick Ware Racing has spent part of 12 years in the Truck Series since debuting in 1999. The organization is coming off a season that witnessed 22 different drivers compete between the team’s two full-time XFINITY Series machines. But with the move to the Truck Series, RWR is leaving that merry-go-round and the sport’s second-tier division behind.
“As of now, we are pulling out for the year,” Ware said. “With all the new teams coming in, we would struggle even worse than this past year. It’s a smart move for the time being to go to the Truck Series.”
The two Rick Ware Racing machines finished 28th and 31st, respectively, in the XFINITY Series owner standings in 2016. After the first of the year, the points to the No. 25 machine will be sold to Chris Cockrum, who competed in six events last year with support from Rick Ware Racing and the points to the No. 15 car will be sold to B.J. McLeod Motorsports.
“Lack of funding killed us,” Ware said. “We only had two full-time employees besides our crew chief. We ran three chassis pretty much all year. The last 10 races were all pretty much run with the same car. Drivers left, sponsors folded and it was just a really trying year.”
In addition to selling the points of both the teams cars, the organization also sold some race equipment. It will keep the rest because the family-run organization is hopeful to make a future return to the XFINITY Series.
“We’re trying to figure out what makes sense,” team owner Rick Ware told Frontstretch. “The XFINITY deal is great in that it had a lot of volume. What you need is a team owner with cashflow and sponsorships. The Truck Series is very hard. You go to two races and sit for a month. You go to Martinsville and sit for a month. It’s pretty hard to make a business out of that. We either have to fill in those holes doing some kind of racing, whether that is XFINITY, road racing or Cup, or motorcycles. We need to find sources of income in the racing business. We’re working on that, but we don’t have everything finalized yet.”