Cody Ware, Rick Ware Racing, NASCAR (Photo by David Jensen/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton is set to replace Cody Ware in this Sunday night’s NASCAR Cup Series dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway as Ware tends to a “personal matter”.
NASCAR will be without another one of its full-time Cup Series drivers on Easter Sunday for the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, as Cody Ware has withdrawn from the 2023 season’s eighth race.
According to Rick Ware Racing, the 27-year-old Greensboro, North Carolina native is stepping away this weekend to tend to what is being described as a “personal matter”.
Three-time Truck Series champion Matt Crafton is set to replace Ware behind the wheel of the No. 51 Ford in Sunday’s 250-lap race around the four-turn, 0.533-mile (0.858-kilometer) Bristol, Tennessee oval.
The organization’s statement on the matter is included below.
Statement from Rick Ware Racing
Cody Ware will step away from racing this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway to focus on a personal matter. Matt Crafton will drive the No. 51 Ford Mustang for Rick Ware Racing. Crafton has more than 500 overall-starts in his NASCAR career, winning… pic.twitter.com/hUURe7RM6Q
— Rick Ware Racing (@RickWareRacing) April 8, 2023
No further details have been provided as to why Cody Ware won’t be competing in this NASCAR Cup Series race.
Ware is currently in the midst of his second straight season as a full-time driver, though last year also saw him miss one race late in the season as he healed from an injury suffered in a nasty crash at Texas Motor Speedway.
Crafton has competed full-time in the Truck Series since 2001 and has not missed a single race during that 23-year span. His most recent Cup Series appearance came in October 2019, when he drove for Front Row Motorsports as Matt Tifft’s late replacement at Martinsville Speedway after Tifft suffered a seizure.
He also competed for Wood Brothers Racing in relief of Paul Menard at Talladega Superspeedway earlier that month. His only other Cup Series start came at Daytona International Speedway in February 2015, when he replaced the injured Kyle Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing.
Ware is one of two full-time Cup Series drivers not competing on Sunday, as Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott remains sidelined with a broken leg.
Sunday’s race is set to be broadcast live on Fox from Bristol Motor Speedway beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET. Begin a free trial of FuboTV if you have not already done so!