The Cup Series team announced the news on Thursday, January 27. RWR confirmed that Hand will take over the No. 15 entry for trips to Circuit of the Americas (March 27), Sonoma Raceway (June 12), Road America (July 3), Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course (July 31), Watkins Glen International (August 21), and the Charlotte Roval (October 9).
“First off, I just want to thank Ford Performance and Rick Ware Racing for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime to race in NASCAR,” Hand said in a statement. “It has always been high on my list, and I had a ton of fun last year. Throughout the race weekend and the subsequent Next Gen test session, Rick and I developed a great relationship.
“With the introduction of the Next Gen car, I feel it levels the playing field and we have a legitimate chance of running up front. With support from Ford Performance and Stewart-Haas Racing, there is no reason why we shouldn’t be competitive at road courses. I feel I am already comfortable with the Next Gen car because of many similarities to the GT cars I have driven in the past.”
Hand Has Extensive Experience at Road Courses
A member of the Ford family, Hand has made numerous starts on road courses in a variety of sports car series. His list of achievements includes winning the 2011 and 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona, the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the 2011 and 2012 12 Hours of Sebring (GT Class).
Hand made his NASCAR Cup Series debut during the 2021 season. He joined RWR for the October 10 race at the Charlotte Roval. Hand started 36th overall and finished 27th, ahead of teammate Josh Bilicki. Now he will return to even more road courses while continuing to work with RWR.
“Joey has been a key resource for our NASCAR drivers the past couple of years as far as helping them with their road course skills, so seeing him get this opportunity with RWR is only going to make our program better,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports, in a statement. “We all have great faith in Joey’s ability and even though he has only one NASCAR start to his credit, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him in victory lane this year.”
Hand Joins Another Driver in the No. 15
While Hand will take control of the stock car for the road course races, another driver will take over for multiple other races. David Ragan will drive the entry during the season-opening Daytona 500.
RWR announced the news on January 12 and confirmed that Ragan would make his return to the organization after a fourth-place finish in the 2020 Daytona 500. The team also stated that he will control the No. 15 during the 2022 season. Though the initial announcement did not provide any further dates.
While Hand and Ragan will share the No. 15, likely with other drivers, another will run full-time in the No. 51. Cody Ware will take on the entire 2022 Cup Series schedule while working with Nurtec ODT as his primary partner.