Photo: James Black/INDYCAR

Cody Ware Discusses Indy 500 Speculations

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

John Andretti, Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon, Kurt Busch and maybe Cody Ware.

Yes, there’s been wild speculations around both the NASCAR and INDYCAR media world that the 25-year-old competitor is rumored of running for Dale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing’s No. 51 Honda on the ovals.

Notably, the 105th Indianapolis 500 and join the four aforementioned drivers who’ve done “The Memorial Day Double” by running both Indy and the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the same day.

The team announced last Wednesday that nine-year Formula One veteran Romain Grosjean will run all the street and road courses this season, leaving just Indy, the two Texas races, and Gateway.

Cody ran his first set of laps in an Indy car at Sebring International Raceway before DCR announced its partnership with RWR two weeks ago. That’s where the rumor mill of him possibly running some NTT IndyCar Series races rose.

During last Thursday’s portion of Daytona 500 virtual media day, Cody answered questions regarding “The Double” because he happens to be running full-time in the Cup Series for RWR’s No. 51 team.

Cody said there have been brief talks about possibly running IndyCar races in 2021. If the Indy 500 is an option, the experience will be amazing because it’s something that never crossed his mind of ever doing.

“The Indy 500 is something I wouldn’t have even dreamed about racing. Being six feet and four inches, a very tall race car driver. I never thought I could sit in a single-seater car, let alone go racing,” said Cody.

“I want to look at it a slightly different perspective and want to soak it in (at Indianapolis). Both from a money and physical perspective, I didn’t thought IndyCar would even be on a bucket list of things I would ever go racing in. A little bit different for me taking part of this IndyCar program.”

As enticing the idea is to Cody, there’s some major catches where it could prevent him joining the four men who’ve established themselves as strong versatile racers.

“Logistically, I don’t have a private plane. Money is the biggest factor on even going that road because my only options would be commercial. Unless a sponsor pays for a private plane because of how close those start times are now,” Cody on the logistics of doing “The Double.”

“There might be one or two IndyCar races I might partake and miss out on a Cup race because I don’t have the funds of a Kurt Busch-type. That’s going to be one of the struggles. I want to take advantage of doing a little bit of everything, even if it’s a bit unconventional.”

Outside of Indianapolis, there was another IndyCar weekend being tossed around which was the Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle (June 12-13). Cody mentioned it could be one of the NASCAR races he’ll likely miss out because it happens be All-Star Race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

“We looked at that quite a bit and that might be one of the Cup races we call it a wash,” said Cody. “Detroit is a doubleheader and with the Texas All-Star Race not being a points races, that would be a weekend where I could focus my efforts on the IndyCar program.”

By running different events around the world, Cody has learned a few things that made him better as a competitor. This includes certain moments in his career where he received flak and how he handles those criticisms and mistakes.

One moment comes to mind was the 2019 Daytona 500 when he, B.J. McLeod, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Tyler Reddick were involved in a multi-car crash. It took place on the way to pit road when Ware and McLeod tangled, causing a disastrous outcome for them and others.

“I try not letting things get to me. There was a lot at play where I could’ve done things better in the situation,” Cody on his 2019 crash. “There was a lot of team orders between spotters that weren’t spoken about. No one really told anyone that they were coming down pit road and probably 50% (of the blame) was on me.

“I could only do so much and unfortunately, I was the butt end on that. Next time, we’re not going to put ourselves in that situation and be that guy.”

Motorsports Tribune asked Rick Ware how his son running multiple motorsports disciplines such as Asian Le Mans and the Rolex 24 has helped him grow as a competitor.

“I think every driver has their strengths and weaknesses. You’d like to think there’s some core talent there. I believe there is. There’s a lot of drivers that have core talent,” said Rick last Wednesday.

“His biggest issue probably has come up through a racing family is having to preserve equipment, the mental aspect of not being able to race like he would like to race. The Asian Le Mans definitely gave him some experience and confidence.”

There was a catch with Rick’s comments, while he’s tried giving Cody opportunities to run different kind of races and vehicles, there were challenges such as the pandemic and how he goes about his race team.

“He loves road racing and so do I. It is definitely harder to make a living doing that from a business model just because of the amount of television time, the sponsor you can attain, then the prize money. It’s an issue,” Rick added.

“We try to do that as much as possible. We had an invite to Le Mans last year. Cody was going to be one of the drivers. But with the COVID, they were going to cancel, pushed it back to (last) September, so it wasn’t even an option for us because we were running so many NASCAR races. It’s given him a lot of confidence.

“It’s also making him a better driver, learning how to do different disciplines. It’s amazing just how I see how he takes that to different levels.

“Anything is possible. But, yes, as far as Cody goes, I’m excited for him, just to see him grow, for sure,” Rick concluded.

At the end of the day, time will tell if Cody will join that coveted list of legendary racers, but it’s certainly brought some compelling attention on his racing career.

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media and a three-time National Motorsports Press Association award winner in photography. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. Over the years, Luis has focused on writing, video and photography with ambitions of having his work recognized.