Harrison Rhodes set for Atlanta Cup debut with Rick Ware Racing

(Photo: Logan Whitton/NKP)

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

After five years in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Harrison Rhodes is set for his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut.

Rick Ware Racing (RWR) announced Thursday that Rhodes, 24, will make his first Cup Series start for the team in the Feb. 25 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Rhodes will pilot the No. 51 Chevolet, with associate sponsorship from Industrial Construction Experts Inc.

“I’m all about giving chances,” Team Owner Rick Ware said in a team release. “There’s no doubt that Rick Ware Racing has built itself on giving opportunities to young, vibrant drivers. Harrison is no exception.

“Even though he doesn’t have any experience in Cup, he has turned countless laps in an XFINITY Series car which will make his transition to our No. 51 Chevrolet that much smoother.

A native of High Point, N.C., Rhodes made his NASCAR debut in the K&N Pro Series East in 2012 before making the leap to the XFINITY Series with RWR in 2013. Over the past five seasons the prospect has completed partial schedules in NASCAR’s second series, earning two top 10s in 84-career starts.

“I can’t believe I have this opportunity to drive for Rick Ware Racing at Atlanta,” Rhodes said. “I began my NASCAR career with Rick and now six years later I’ll have the chance to race on Sunday. It’s a blessing and a dream come true.”

Rhodes will be the second driver in as many weeks to compete for RWR, following Justin Marks’ drive for the team in the season-opening Daytona 500. The North Carolinian is the first of many expected Cup Series newcomers for RWR this year.

“He’s going to be the first of several rookie drivers to compete for our team this season,” Ware said. “NASCAR is blossoming in the way of a youth movement and we can do our part to contribute by placing young enthusiastic and talented drivers behind the wheel of our race cars.

“It’s a gamble, but its one that we feel we’ll exceed our expectations as the season presses on.”
Additional details for the operation – including the driver and sponsor lineup for races beyond Atlanta – will be revealed at a later date. RWR are guaranteed a spot in every Cup Series race after acquiring a charter from Richard Petty Motorsports over the offseason.

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