Rick Ware Racing and driver James Davison are teaming up for a motorsports tripleheader this month that will include the Indy 500.
With sponsorship from Jacob Construction/Byrd, Davison will drive the No. 51 Dallara-Honda as a Dale Coyne Racing entry with Rick Ware Racing in the Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 (1 p.m. ET, NBC), team owner Rick Ware told NBC Sports in an interview Thursday morning.
Jacob Construction also will be sponsoring Davison with RWR in the NASCAR Cup races at the Daytona International Speedway road course Aug. 16 and the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona on Aug. 29. Ware said Davison has been approved by NASCAR to run the road course and 2.5-mile oval.
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Davison will be qualifying for the Indy 500 on Aug. 15, the day before racing Cup at Daytona. Ware said he plans to attend some practices and qualifying, but the team owner will be attending NASCAR’s race weekend doubleheader at Dover International Speedway during the Indy 500 weekend.
“This is a bucket list item that is huge for me personally,” Ware said. “I’ve actually never even been to the Indianapolis 500. Throughout my whole career, I’ve always been somewhere racing on Memorial Day (weekend). I’m ecstatic about even being able to be there and be able to participate has been a huge dream of mine.”
It’ll be a busy two weeks as well for Davison, who will be running both Cup races at Michigan International Speedway this weekend. He will drive from Michigan to Indianapolis for three days of practice starting Aug. 12. After qualifying on Saturday, Aug. 15, he’ll fly to Daytona for the Cup race and then return Friday to Indy for Carb Day practice. After running the Indy 500 on Aug. 23, he’ll return to Daytona to race the Coke Zero 400.
Jacob Construction also sponsors Rick Ware in the Asian Le Mans Series. Jacobs/Byrd had sponsored a planned Rolex 24 at Daytona entry for Ware, who said he has been trying to put together an Indy 500 deal since last November when his team raced with Jacob in the Asian Le Mans Series.
“Being a smaller team, we’ve had just a lot of interest and a lot of excitement about doing something so unique,” said Ware, who celebrated his 57th birthday along with Thursday’s news. “It’s just a really cool deal. People just got excited about the value add as a race team. I’ll be doing a lot of traveling back and forth, but we’re still focusing on (NASCAR). We’ve had multiple top 30s with several of our cars the last several races in Cup.
“We’re making baby steps. So we’re improving, and our sponsors there are really happy. (The Indy 500) is not a diversion. It’s really a value add. So we’ll do whatever we can to make this happen. It’s going to be a lot of miles driven.”
Davison has seven starts in the NTT IndyCar series and will be attempting his sixth Indy 500. He finished a career-best 12th in last year’s race. He made his Cup debut at the Pocono Raceway doubleheader weekend in June, finishing 34th and 30th with Spire Motorsports.
Davison finished 30th Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in his first Cup start with Ware.