The Next-Gen car has caused a lot of stir because it possibly allows some of the smaller teams to gain a competitive advantage they don’t currently have over the bigger teams. No team could use this more than Rick Ware Racing.
This team has been the butt of jokes for the last couple of years, but they have stated multiple times that 2022 will be their coming-out party. This upcoming year will supposedly be the first in what is expected to be their build-up to becoming a competitive Cup team. Their current blueprint to success has not gained them many fans, but it may just work.
Hoarding four charters for a team that clearly would have its hands full with just one full-time team, has left them in a very financially lucrative situation. If they are able to sell off two of those charters – which is their current plan – then this will open the door for a massive influx of cash to start the next-gen cars.
They also, recently announced their partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing and Ford to form an alliance in 2022. This will give them some access to better engines and equipment. While this won’t be enough to pole vault them into contention, it’s a solid start.
At the end of the day, what RWR and all of these smaller teams are going to have to do to become relevant is invest in developing driver talent. A couple of weeks ago it was revealed that RWR has had conversations with Matt DiBenedetto and Ryan Newman on possibly coming to the team, but no further word on that.
That’s a solid start, but that’s not going to be what changes the game for this team. Neither DiBenedetto nor Newman are going to bring any massive performance upheaval, but they are better than anything they’ve put behind their wheels before. They can mainly help bolster a team in general with their presence and experience.
I don’t believe their goal is to grab both of them, but probably to fill one seat with a reputable driver and then have Cody Ware fill the other seat. However, I think that if RWR or any of these smaller teams want to have long-term success, they have to invest in their drivers. Not go out and try to poach young drivers that have talent but are underdeveloped, but revamp their Xfinity program and start developing drivers.
The best case would be for them would be to somehow convince Ryan Newman and Matt DiBenedetto to both drive for them next year and send Cody Ware down to the Xfinity series and allow him to take his Cup experience and hone his skills. While I don’t think Cody Ware is a Cup-level talent, he can at least get better, and if RWR is insistent on allowing him to drive their cars, at least do him the service of developing him.
I don’t think any of this is going to happen, but that would be a real effort at attempting to better the team. Even if they keep Cody Ware in the Cup car, try to find a driver who needs an opportunity and develop them in Xfinity.