The No. 51 entry of Rick Ware Racing will have to overcome some significant hurdles at Sonoma Raceway. NASCAR has assessed the team with an L1-level penalty after the entry failed inspection several times.
The sanctioning body announced the news on June 11 after all of the cars went through inspection. The penalty report noted that the No. 51 had failed inspection four times. The team lost out on its pit stall selection and fell to the rear of the field for the start of the June 12 Cup Series race. Cody Ware will also have to serve a pass-through penalty after the green flag waves. Finally, NASCAR ejected engineer Steve Gray for the remainder of the weekend.
These significant penalties will not be the only ones for Rick Ware Racing. NASCAR also revealed that there will be more penalties listed in the weekly penalty report. The potential options could include points deductions, fines, and/or team roster suspensions.
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A Second Team Received Lesser Penalties
The No. 51 Rick Ware Racing Ford Mustang received the harshest penalties at Sonoma Raceway after going through inspection. Another team, however, also lost a crew member for the weekend after failing inspection multiple times.
NASCAR announced that the No. 78 Ford Mustang of Live Fast Motorsports had failed inspection twice. This resulted in the ejection of engineer Chris Stanley. The No. 78 passed on the third attempt, so driver Scott Heckert was able to post a qualifying lap.
The No. 78 has only headed to two road courses early in 2022, and Live Fast Motorsports has dealt with issues at both. The team also failed inspection three times at Circuit of the Americas in late March. Driver Andy Lally had to drop to the rear of the field at the start of the race, and he had to serve a pass-through penalty after the green flag waved.
Ware Will Make His 11th Road Course Start
The North Carolina native has only been a full-time driver since the start of the 2021 season, but he has multiple starts at road courses in his career. He has suited up for 10 events dating back to the 2018 season.
Ware made his road course debut at Sonoma Raceway. He started 38th overall in the No. 52 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet, but his day came to an early end. A fuel pump issue sent him to the garage after 42 of the 110 laps.
The majority of Ware’s road course starts have taken place at Sonoma Raceway. He has three prior to the 2022 iteration. He has also made two starts at Circuit of the Americas and one at Watkins Glen International, Road America, the Charlotte Roval, the Daytona Road Course, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course. His career-best finish is 25th at the Daytona Road Course in 2021.
Ware will now have an opportunity to surpass his career-best finish, but it will not be a simple task. Starting from the rear and serving a pass-through penalty will only put him at a further disadvantage at a difficult track.