Cody Ware will skip the next two NASCAR Cup Series races at Richmond Raceway and Bristol Motor Speedway after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning during Sunday’s Darlington Raceway event. Garrett Smithley will replace him in the #51 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet for Richmond, while a Bristol driver was not immediately announced.
“After being treated in the infield care centre at Darlington Raceway this past weekend, Cody Ware will be sidelined as a precautionary measure for both Richmond Raceway and Bristol Motor Speedway,” read a statement by RWR on Friday. “On Monday after being treated, Cody still was feeling adverse effects of Carbon Monoxide. Cody felt that it was in the best interest for the team to have a replacement driver for the next two races.
“Garrett Smithley will pilot the #51 20th Anniversary 9/11 Tribute Tunnel to Towers car at Richmond Raceway this weekend. The driver for Bristol Motor Speedway will be announced at a later date.”
Ware retired from Sunday’s Cook Out Southern 500 after completing 209 of 367 laps when he started feeling ill due to carbon monoxide in the car. He had been involved in a crash with team-mate James Davison earlier in the race that damaged the crush panels, causing toxic fumes to enter the cockpit. Carbon monoxide poisoning, which forced inaugural Brickyard 400 pole sitter Rick Mast into retirement, also caused Ware to exit the 2019 Sonoma event when it occurred due to a broken air conditioning unit.
Currently in his first full Cup season, Ware’s best finish is twenty-first in the season-opening Daytona 500.
Smithley races part-time for RWR’s #53 with nineteen starts in 2021, with a best run of twenty-fifth at Nashville. He drove the #51 at the Coca-Cola 600 in May when Ware was initially supposed to enter the Indianapolis 500, though Ware would eventually pilot the #53 in the 600. In his lone Cup start at Richmond in the spring, Smithley finished thirty-fifth.