Monday, May 27, 2024

Andy Lally joins Ware for remaining Cup road races

Andy Lally will run the NASCAR Cup Series‘ four remaining road course races for Rick Ware Racing, the team announced Monday. He will race the #15 Ford Mustang with sponsorship from Camping World. The first race is Sunday at Sonoma Raceway, followed by the Chicago Street Course on 2 July, Indianapolis Motor Speedway on 13 August, and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval on 8 October.

The sponsor deal came together after Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis noticed a tweet from Lally saying he had “a really cool opportunity for the road courses in Cup, but I need to find a little help.” Lemonis previously also stepped up to sponsor individual trucks when his company held the naming rights to the now-Craftsman Truck Series.

“This is obviously an incredible opportunity and I am very thankful to Rick, RWR and Camping World for making this all come together in a very short amount of time,” Lally said. “So many of my chances to race in NASCAR have been one-race deals. With five races now, I get to really focus and embed myself with a team to develop a stronger communication and understanding of each other, as well as learning what the Next Gen car likes on road courses.

“This all came about because I wrote a note across my social media channels explaining I had an opportunity to return to the NASCAR Cup Series. I was thrilled when Marcus Lemonis, CEO and Chairman of Camping World, reached out and committed to all five road course races with Camping World as the primary sponsor. It blew my mind. I can’t thank Marcus and the Camping World family enough.”

Lally was the 2011 Cup Series Rookie of the Year, but did not return in the series for a decade before attempting two races for Live Fast Motorsports in 2021 and 2022. He retired from both races at Indianapolis and COTA in thirty-ninth.

Despite the ten-year absence from the top level, he remained a road course ringer in the Xfinity Series, where he has raced sporadically since 2014 with eight top tens and a best finish of fifth on three occasions. In 2022, he ran Portland for Alpha Prime Racing followed by the road courses for SS-Green Light Racing with a best run of fourteenth at Road America.

“When we first talked to Andy about driving a few races with our team, I was very interested based on his impressive road course acumen,” team owner Rick Ware stated. “When Camping World wanted to partner with us for the rest of this year’s road course races, it was an easy decision. Our team is looking forward to getting it started this weekend.”

The #15 is thirty-second in owner points with Jenson Button, Gray Gaulding, Todd Gilliland, Riley Herbst, Brennan Poole, and J.J. Yeley splitting time. Button ran the first road race at COTA in the car and is also scheduled to do so at Chicago and Indianapolis, for which Lally will shift to RWR’s #51; he is unavailable for Sonoma as he is racing the 24 Hours of Le Mans in NASCAR’s Garage 56 entry. The #51 is a spot back in the owner’s standings with Cody Ware as the primary driver before his arrest and suspension; others to drive the car include Gilliland, Yeley, Matt Crafton, Ryan Newman, and Zane Smith.