THOMASVILLE, N.C. – Rick Ware Racing announced Thursday that NASCAR XFINITY Series veteran Harrison Rhodes will make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut driving the team’s No. 51 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend.
A native of High Point, N.C., Rhodes has spent the last five years competing in the XFINITY Series for a variety of different organizations. Last year, the 24-year-old competed in 31 races driving for JD Motorsports with Gary Keller, earning a season-high 10th place finish in the opening race of the year at Daytona.
Rhodes made his XFINITY Series debut at Arizona’s ISM Raceway in 2013 for Rick Ware Racing, bringing his motorsports career full-circle now competing at NASCAR’s pinnacle level for Ware.
“I can’t believe I have this opportunity to drive for Rick Ware Racing at Atlanta,” said Rhodes. “I began my NASCAR career with Rick and now six years later I’ll have the chance to race on Sunday. It’s a blessing and a dream come true.”
While a primary sponsor will be announced soon, supporting Rhodes’ effort for Atlanta in an associate role will be Sanford, N.C.-based Industrial Construction Experts Inc.
Team principal Rick Ware said that Rhodes is the first of several rookies that will be driving for the Thomasville, N.C.-based team this season.
“I’m all about giving chances,” explained Ware, who is entering his 26th year of competition. “There’s no doubt that Rick Ware Racing has built itself on giving opportunities to young, vibrant drivers. Harrison is no exception.
“Even though he doesn’t have any experience in Cup, he has turned countless laps in an Xfinity Series car which will make his transition to our No. 51 Chevrolet that much smoother.”
Ware’s No. 51 entry will utilize a charter that the team secured from Richard Petty Motorsports during the offseason, guaranteeing Rhodes and any other drivers who climb behind the wheel this season a spot in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series field.
It’s the continuation of a youth movement that has taken the series by storm over the last several years, a movement that Ware is keen to help continue.
“Harrison is going to be the first of several rookie drivers to compete for our team this season,” said Ware. “NASCAR is blossoming in the way of a youth movement and we can do our part to contribute by placing young enthusiastic and talented drivers behind the wheel of our race cars.”
“It’s a gamble, but its one that we feel we’ll exceed our expectations as the season presses on.”
CREDIT: Rick Ware Racing