ustin Haley, Driver of the No. 51 NC Fraternal Order of Police/CMPD Tribute Ford Mustang Dark Horse 
  ●  Sunday’s Goodyear 400 will mark Justin Haley’s seventh NASCAR Cup Series start at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. While several of his competitors will honor the grassroots of motorsports with their respective racecar paint schemes, Haley’s will honor four heroes who gave their lives making a difference in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community.  
● On Monday, April 29, 2024, law enforcement officers from the U.S. Marshals Task Force and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police department (CMPD) were attempting to serve a felony warrant when a suspect opened fire from inside the house.  Four heroes were mortally wounded – CMPD Officer Joshua Eyer, NC Department of Adult Corrections Investigators Samuel Poloche and William “Alden” Elliott, and Deputy U.S. Marshal Thomas M. Weeks, Jr. – while four additional officers were injured.  ​ The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #9 Foundation has established a fundraiser to honor the fallen officers. All donations made will be split equally between the four families of the fallen officers to help with necessary expenses. Haley and his family will match donations made through the end of Sunday’s race.   ● Haley’s two best Darlington finishes came in the two most recent May races at the 1.366-mile, egg-shaped oval. In May 2022, he charged to a third-place finish from his 29th starting position. He followed that up in May 2023 with an eighth-place run.   ● In the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Haley has posted five starts with one top-five and five top-15 finishes from 2021 to 2023.  
Kaz Grala, Driver of the No. 15 N29 Capital Partners Ford Mustang Dark Horse

● Kaz Grala will make his first Cup Series start at Darlington in the No. 15 N29 Capital Partners Ford Mustang Dark Horse that is designed to honor the 1969 Bud Moore Ford Mustang Boss 302 driven by Rufus “Parnelli” Jones in the original SCCA Trans Am Series. The Ford Mustang Boss 302 was Ford’s answer to the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 both on the street and on the track, created to compete for the SCCA Trans Am championship. On May 11, 1969, Jones battled through rain, sleet and snow at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn to win the four-hour, 11-minute, 104-lap, 344.24-mile Trans Am season opener. It was the first victory for the Boss 302. Jones collected a second win July 6, 1969, at the 3-mile Donnybrook International Speedway in Minnesota, now known as Brainerd International Raceway.   For the 1969 season, Jones finished first or second in six of the 11 races. The Bud Moore team recorded DNFs in the other five events.   As the 1970 SCCA Trans Am season began, Jones returned in the Bud Moore-engineered Ford Mustang Boss 302 for the 1970 Trans Am season with his sights set on contending for the championship. Meanwhile in California, the Ware family was busy preparing for Johnny Ware’s Trans Am debut. After completing SCCA road-course training, the father of RWR team owner Rick Ware made his first start in the final event of the 1970 season – the Mission Bell 200 at Riverside (Calif.) Raceway. The elder Ware qualified 23rd in a field of 35 cars and finished 15th, seven laps down to race-winner and 1970 SCCA Trans Am champion Jones.   ● Grala also spent time in the Trans Am Series on his way to NASCAR’s premier series. In 2022, he competed in the Trans Am Series TA class at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington and Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. He won the pole in his debut at Mid-Ohio and set a track record, then followed that up in the next event at Road America by winning the pole and leading every lap en route to the win.   ● In two NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Darlington, Grala has a best finish of ninth, earned in the May 2023 race.  
Rick Ware Racing Notes
  ● The Progressive American Flat Track (AFT) tour is back on track at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway this weekend. Mission SuperTwins rider Briar Bauman is looking for this first podium of the season and sits fourth in the standings three top-five finishes in the first four events. AFT Singles rider and two-time champion Kody Kopp holds a 17-point lead in the title standings thanks to a pair of wins and a pair of runner-up finishes through the first four races.   ●  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
  Talk about how special your paint scheme for this week is. “I’m honored to represent the North Carolina Fraternal Order of Police and their efforts to honor the fallen heroes of the CMPD and the U.S. Marshals. These men and women put their lives on the line to protect and serve their communities knowing there’s a day when they may not return home. I’m proud to carry them with me at Darlington and to help their families as they move forward through these difficult times.”
  There has been steady improvement out of the No. 51 camp. How tough will it be to take that next stop into the top-15 at a track like Darlington?
“I think it’s definitely possible. There has been a lot of progress made and we just keep taking it a little further each week. Darlington is a difficult track in and of itself. The track is so unique and it takes a lot of focus for a driver to drive the car into the corners correctly. It’s just a physically demanding track. Certainly not as much this weekend as when we come back for the Southern 500, but there’s a reason it’s known as being ‘Too Tough To Tame.’ The older surface presents another challenge for teams as the tire fall-off is so quick there, so you really have to take advantage of those first few laps because, after that, it all comes down to just how good the car and driver are. It can be one of the most difficult tracks for us, but also one of the most fun tracks we go to.”  
Kaz Grala, Driver Q&A
  You’re back in the No. 15 and taking on another track for the first time in the Cup Series. What have you learned in your two Xfinity Series starts there? “I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is it’s just as tough as you are led to believe. You can have a great day and think you’ve got it figured out, only to show up the next race and have your hands full. Darlington is definitely one of those unique tracks with its two different corners and it can be difficult to navigate. Still, these Cup cars handle so differently from the Xfinity cars. I feel like I’ve done a good job learning and adapting quickly, but at a track like Darlington, I’ll have to get up to speed fast.”
  You’ll be running the Parnelli Jones 1969 Trans Am tribute paint scheme. What do you think about the red-and-black livery?
“It’s really exciting to run this paint scheme for my throwback. It’s such an iconic Ford paint scheme and Parnelli Jones was one of those racers who did it all. He dipped his toe in what seemed like every different motorsports series – Trans Am, NASCAR, IndyCar, Sprint and Midget cars, off-road racing. And then he turned around and became a team owner and won the Indy 500. We just celebrated the 60th birthday of the Ford Mustang and now we’ll get to continue the celebration by honoring a car that was created to outperform in the motorsports world. Hopefully we can do it justice.”