Justin Haley, Driver of the No. 51 Jacob Construction Ford Mustang Dark Horse

● Justin Haley makes his fourh NASCAR Cup Series start at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth this Sunday in the No. 51 Jacob Construction Ford Mustang Dark Horse for Rick Ware Racing (RWR). Haley has two finishes inside the top-15 at the 1.5-mile track, including a third-place showing in the September 2022 event.

● In races completed on intermediate tracks, Haley has earned two top-fives and six top-10s in 60 career Cup Series starts and finished inside the top-10 in 40 out of 60 intermediate-track races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In six Xfinity Series races at Texas, all but one resulted in top-10s.

● Haley’s strong runs at Texas began in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, where he finished in the top-10 for all five of his starts. He secured his first and only Truck Series pole at Texas in November 2017 and captured his third series win at Texas on Nov. 2, 2018 after leading 33 laps. The win advanced him into the Championship 4 round of the playoffs.

● The 24-year-old’s third start for RWR came Feb. 25 on the 1.533-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway oval, where he finished 20th. It was his best finish on an intermediate track so far this year.

● Jacob returns to the No. 51 Ford after being featured on Haley’s Mustang Dark Horse at Daytona. Jacob is a nationally certified, WBENC, woman owned, multifaceted construction firm with a focus on construction, design-build services, structural concrete and technology.

Kaz Grala, Driver of the No. 15 N29 Capital Partners Ford Mustang Dark Horse

● Kaz Grala, driver of the No. 15 N29 Capital Partners Ford Mustang Dark Horse for RWR, will make his first Cup Series start at Texas this Sunday in the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400. His best finish on a 1.5-mile track was the 14th-place result he earned in the Feb. 25 race at Atlanta.

● In four Xfinity Series starts at Texas, Grala has two finishes inside the top-20. In 42 intermediate races in the Xfinity Series, he’s collected four top-10s and 24 top-20s.

● Grala also has two Craftsman Truck Series starts at Texas that resulted in top-10 finishes.

Rick Ware Racing Notes

● The Mission NHRA Drag Racing Series heads to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend, where Top Fuel driver Clay Millican looks to find success for the RWR Parts Plus team in the Vegas 4-Wide Nationals. Coverage of events begins on FS1 Friday with the first of two qualifying shows and continues Sunday with the second qualifying show, followed by coverage of the elimination rounds.

● Rick Ware has been a motorsports mainstay for more than 40 years. It began at age six when the third-generation racer began his driving career and has since spanned four wheels and two wheels on both asphalt and dirt. Competing in the SCCA Trans Am Series and other road-racing divisions led Ware to NASCAR in the early 1980s, where he finished third in his NASCAR debut – the 1983 Warner W. Hodgdon 300 NASCAR Grand American race at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway. More than a decade later, injuries would force Ware out of the driver seat and into fulltime team ownership. In 1995, Rick Ware Racing was formed, and with wife Lisa by his side, Ware has since built his eponymous organization into an entity that fields two fulltime entries in the NASCAR Cup Series while simultaneously campaigning successful teams in the Top Fuel class of the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series, the LMP3 class of the IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge, Whelen Mazda MX-5 Cup, Progressive American Flat Track and FIM World Supercross Championship (WSX), where RWR won the 2022 SX2 championship with rider Shane McElrath.

Justin Haley, Driver Q&A

In the last two years, you did well at Texas and were strong on the intermediate tracks, in general. What does it take to put a good race together at Texas?

“You just have to put all of the pieces together. It’s a very fast track, it can get very hot and slick. With both ends of the track being so different, you have to get your car handling decent all around or you could very well be spinning out in turns one and two. If we can keep a handle on the car, no mistakes on pit road and put all of those little things together, it could be a good day for us.”

It’s been a tough few weeks for the No. 51 team as far as final results. There have been some bright spots during races but it hasn’t translated to the top-15 or top-20 finishes that the team is looking for. How do you stay positive and keep moving forward each week?

“I think the biggest thing that helps is I’ve been doing this a while and it’s not the first time I’ve had a result that should’ve been better. It’s easy to sit around and be upset about it, but once it’s done all we can do is debrief and figure out how to improve next time. There are definitely things in my personal life that I do to make sure it’s not cosuming me but, come Monday, there’s another race to prepare for so there’s no time to sit around and worry about it. I know how hard these guys are working and we’re going to have a race where it all goes as it should.”

Kaz Grala, Driver Q&A

It seems like with each race there’s less and less parity in the field. How hard is it to find something in the car that others don’t have?

“The format nowadays with such little practice makes it so you have the speed that you come to the track with, and you’re probably not going to change that much. You can try to change your handling a little bit, get it right where you want it, so you can maximize the speed that you do have, but there’s not really an opportunity to find it these days. With the NextGen car and how weekends are laid out, everything is so tight. I think that’s why we see so many races where track position is so important, but this could be a weekend where we are so reliant on that.”

How does that help a team like RWR that has made significant investments to improve the on-track product?

“Right now, I think we’ve had several races where we are outrunning RWR’s previous average running position or average finish. I can’t speak to how things were before at the team itself, but a lot has changed in the Cup Series. A few years ago there would have been a lot of talk about what people called ‘backmarkers,’ teams that going into the weekend and were going to be your last-place teams. That just doesn’t exist anymore. Every single team out there is on a healthy budget, putting everything they have into it with the best drivers they can get their hands on. It’s tough to outrun even one car out there right now. It’s crazy to think that you could end up with a good team that that can win races throughout the year and on any given weekend they miss it a little bit, and they don’t run 25th, they run 35th or 36th. We are probably the most underdog team out there, but we’re still able to go out and run in the top-10, top-15, even if that’s not what the results show. It doesn’t take much to lose that position with one bad lap, but if we can keep doing what we’re doing, we’re going to start getting those results on paper.”