Cody Ware still needs more sponsorship to attempt his debut at Indy 500 next month

Cody Ware Indy sponsorship
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Cody Shane Ware successfully passed the rookie orientation program required to run the Indy 500, but his father said he needs sponsorship to get him into the race.

Rick Ware, who fields four cars in NASCAR’s top Cup Series, this year partnered with Dale Coyne Racing in IndyCar. Rick Ware Racing supports Coyne all season on the No. 51 shared by Romain Grosjean and Pietro Fittipaldi, but also a partial-season entry No. 52 that will attempt to qualify for the Indy 500.

Cody Ware was expected to be the driver of the No. 52 but his father told The Associated Press on Sunday he’s going to need to find additional sponsorship if his son is to make his IndyCar debut in the Indy 500. The 25-year-old has so far tested at both Indianapolis and Texas Motor Speedway.

CROSSING OVER: Cody Ware trying to build credibility by branching out

“It went really well. He got up to speed very quickly in all the segments of rookie orientation,” Rick Ware said. “We’re excited about it but I don’t know that we’re going to have the funding to put it together for him for the 500. I’m working really hard on that but I don’t know for we’re going to be able to do that.”

The No. 52 will still enter the Indy 500 but the seat could be filled by a driver who brings sponsorship money. The car is also expected to run other IndyCar races later this season that Cody Ware could drive.

If Cody Ware doesn’t get the Indy 500, he can’t return to his regular NASCAR job. Garrett Smithley has already been announced as driver for the No. 51 that Ware typically drives for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway that begins hours after the Indy 500.

Rick Ware said his son would be limited to only NASCAR’s Xfinity Series race at Charlotte on Memorial Day weekend if Indy 500 funding does not come through. If he can find some sponsorship to get him close to a deal, Rick Ware said he’d be willing to fill the gap out of pocket because it is his son.

Cody Ware finished 28th on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Rick Ware Racing is an underfunded NASCAR team trying to both build a competitive program and expand throughout motorsports.

Meyer Shank Racing wins second consecutive Rolex 24 at Daytona to begin GTP era

Rolex 24 Meyer Shank
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Grand Touring Prototype era began just as the previous one ended as Meyer Shank Racing’s Acura captured its second consecutive Rolex 24 at Daytona with star Tom Blomqvist emphatically starting and finishing the race.

The No. 60 ARX-06 won the 24-hour endurance classic at Daytona International Speedway by 4.190 seconds over Filipe Albuquerque of Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport, giving Acura a sweep of the top two spots.

The Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-LMDh cars took the next two spots with Renger van der Zande (the No. 01) and Earl Bamber (No. 02) as four of the nine new GTP cars finished on the lead lap within 12 seconds of each other – quashing the prerace hand-wringing of mass failures for the highly technical cars in the debut of the hybrid prototype premier category.

There were major problems for the manufacturer newcomers Porsche Penske Motorsport and BMW M Team RLL, whose two pairs of cars all finished at least a dozen laps down or more because of major mechanical problems in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener.

But there were no such failures for Acura despite the manufacturer skipping any endurance testing with the new LMDh car.

It’s the third Rolex 24 at Daytona victory for co-owner Mike Shank, who won his first in 2012.

Just as he capped the 2022 season by winning the Petit Le Mans season finale in the No. 60 Acura to clinch the final championship of the DPi division for MSR, Blomqvist was behind the wheel again for his third overall victory in IMSA.

“That was crazy,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee. “I knew we had a fantastic car. I’ve been working hard. Unbelievable. Massive, well done, everyone being part of this project and worked together on this project. What a car we’ve built.

“I was just a bit nervous. The 10 was definitely second fastest car, but we held them off.”

It was the second consecutive Rolex 24 victory for MSR’s trio of Blomqvist, Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves, who were joined this year by Colin Braun (winning his first Rolex 24 overall).

Castroneves joined select company in winning the Rolex 24 in three consecutive years (his first win was with Wayne Taylor Racing in 2021). Castroneves and Pagenaud are entering their second consecutive year as teammates for Meyer Shank Racing’s Dallara-Hondas in the NTT IndyCar Series.

“Can you believe that?” Castroneves told Lee. “Big props to everyone. Everyone did an amazing job. Everybody worked so hard together. We got it! Another one. I can’t believe it. This is absolutely a dream come true.”

The four-time Indy 500 winner led the team in his signature fence-climbing celebration afterward — just as he had when he finished MSR’s victory in last year’s Rolex 24 and when he won the 2021 Indy 500 for the team.

“It’s always fun to climb the fence with Helio,” said Pagenaud, who drove the second-to-last stint before Blomqvist closed it out: “The competition as amazing. It was tough out there. So much fun. Hope you had as much fun as we had. I’m going to savor this one.”

Winners in other classes were the No. 55 ORECA 07 of Proton Competition (which triumphed on a last-lap pass by James Allen on Ben Hanley), WeatherTech Racing’s No. 79 Mercedes in GTD Pro, Heart of Racing’s No. 27 Aston Martin in GTD and AWA’s No. 17 in LMP3.