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Justin Haley 'Fully Committed' to Rick Ware Racing Despite Silly Season Rumors

Justin Haley addressed Silly Season rumors that suggest he could move on from Rick Ware Racing at the end of the season by saying he's committed to his current team for as long as they want him.


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After a rocky start to the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season, Justin Haley and the No. 51 Rick Ware Racing team have begun to find their footing in recent weeks. The driver, in his first year with the underdog team, picked up the organization's first-ever two non-superspeedway NASCAR Cup Series top-10 finishes at Darlington Raceway and World Wide Technology Raceway.

And if it wasn't for a mechanical gremlin ending Haley's race early at Sonoma Raceway a couple of weeks ago, who knows what kind of run we could be talking about?

But as Haley, who finished 13th this past weekend at Iowa Speedway, continues to impress in a ride which the vast majority of the public expected him to struggle in when he first announced his move last year, the Silly Season rumor mill has latched onto Haley as a hot commodity.

According to recent rumors, which were amplified by a recent episode of the Door Bumper Clear Podcast, Haley has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Harrison Burton in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford Mustang, as Burton has yet to be re-signed for next season.

While the debate will rage on about which of the two cars is currently more desirable, undeniably the Wood Brothers Racing entry holds a certain level of prestige for sure, as the No. 21 team has 99 victories in its team history as opposed to Rick Ware Racing's zero.

In a Zoom media availability on Tuesday, Haley addressed the rumor and stated that despite what the chatter is, he is all-in on Rick Ware Racing.

"Looking back, a year ago Rick Ware and Lisa Ware, an opportunity when I was high and dry and didn't have an opportunity left in the Cup Series, right? I trusted them, and they trusted me, and I kind of gambled my whole career and life, and everything I've done at that point to trust Rick and his process and see him through," Haley recalled. "I'm definitely committed to Rick, and kind of seeing out what he wants his future to be with me, and things like that. Yeah, we're fully committed. I think we're running too good right now to really veer too far off the path of anything."

Haley, who spent his first two full-time NASCAR Cup Series seasons with Kaulig Racing, after three consecutive NASCAR Xfinity Series seasons with the organizations, says his options for 2024 were Rick Ware Racing, or leaving the NASCAR Cup Series. For Ware taking a chance on him, he feels he is now indebted to the team owner of the No. 15 and 51 cars.

"Again, [I'm] super thankful that they even gave me this opportunity. Because without Rick, I wouldn't even be in the Cup Series right now," Haley explained. "I have a lot to owe to him this year, and a lot of trust, and a lot of confidence are what he has in me."

Haley said that he is committed to staying with the Ware organization for as long as they want him there.

"Tough to kind of put out there, but short and sweet, super thankful for Rick, and everything he's done for me, and I'm committed to him and his process. And whatever Rick wants my future to be, if he wants me to stay for five to 10 years, I'll stay for five to 10 years just because he gave me the opportunity when no one else would," Haley stated. "I think that commitment, and him just putting his arm out and saving me from the water last year. I kind of owe everything to him." I don't want to speak too much on it, I'm super thankful for Rick, and really appreciative that he even gave me this opportunity."

The statements from Haley in Tuesday's media availability would lead you to believe that if there is any truth to the recent rumors that he'll pilot another car during the 2025 NASCAR Cup Series season, that it would not be his choice for that to be the case. It seems if Haley is going to leave the Rick Ware Racing team, it'll be the choice of Ware to let him go rather than the other way around.

And while that could happen, it truly seems wild to think that Rick Ware Racing will let the driver, who just brought the team its first two non-superspeedway top-10s and has shown incredible improvement as he's gelled with crew chief Chris Lawson, walk.

Photo Credit: Nigel Kinrade, NKP for Ford Performance

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