Cody Ware once described his 2017 incident with Matt DiBenedetto as "hitting rock bottom," but it looks like the 27-year-old NASCAR driver may have found himself in a new rock-bottom situation. On Monday, April 10, NASCAR suspended Ware indefinitely after he was arrested and charged in North Carolina for felony assault by strangulation and a misdemeanor count of assault on a female. Ware, who drives the No. 51 Ford for Rick Ware Racing in the Cup Series, was arrested by the Iredell County Sheriff' s Office on Monday and later released on a $3,000 bond. His court date is scheduled for May 1.
Following Ware's arrest, RWR (which is owned by Cody's father Rick) released an official statement on Twitter.
"We are aware of the incident regarding Cody Ware and his indefinite suspension from NASCAR competition," the statement reads. "We understand NASCAR's position on this matter and accept their decision. The matter is still under investigation and Cody is fully cooperating with the authorities, as due process takes its course."
Two days prior to Ware's arrest, RWR had announced that he was stepping away "to focus on a personal matter." Matt Crafton was Ware's replacement in the Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway, though RWR announced Wednesday that Zane Smith will continue to drive the No. 51 while Ware serves his indefinite suspension.
What Happened Between Cody Ware and Matt DiBenedetto?
Cody Ware's day at the 2017 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway went from bad to worse in a matter of mere hours. But, before we get to the worse, let's start with the bad.
On lap 157 of the Cup Series race, Ware was involved in a wreck with Matt DiBenedetto and A. J. Allmendinger. Immediately after the wreck, DiBenedetto was caught on in-car audio saying, "go tell the 51 to quit racing," indicating that he placed the blame solely on Ware. Hours after the Cup race, the two drivers took to Twitter, where things boiled over.
Ware fired the first shot, writing, "Haven't wreck a car all year long. Get taken out by a driver 30 laps down that I had passed 5 times on track. Can't be smart for everyone." DiBenedetto responded, "I was behind you and got caught up in it, it was actually your fault no offense bud." That's when the attacks got personal, with Ware going as far as to accuse DiBenedetto of infidelity on his wife Taylor, who's been married to Matt since 2015.
Might as well RT this one too. pic.twitter.com/uN4yqsFK1l
— Larry Spencer III (@LeadLapLarry) September 4, 2017
Shortly after the social media firestorm, Ware deleted his Twitter account and posted the following message on Facebook:
"I deleted my twitter, I snapped and said some thing that I stand by but have been told by tons of people to take down. I do nothing but give and take crap from anyone when I have to run 130% to try and keep up with people with budgets exponentially higher than my own. I obviously don't have the maturity or ability to handle stress well enough to deal with how tilted this sport is."
Ware, who would later delete Facebook as well, ran in one more race in 2017, placing 39th at New Hampshire. In February 2018, Ware restarted his social media accounts, and opened up about his struggles with anxiety and depression. A couple months later, Ware announced that he had been diagnosed with Asperger's. In the years that followed, continued to share his mental health struggles. In a 2019 interview, Ware addressed his past incident with DiBenedetto and referred to it as his "rock bottom."
"Back in 2017, I had a few issues on social media where I said and did some things that I should not have and that obviously, as it should, caused a lot of backlash on myself personally," Ware said.
"I think hitting rock bottom (after that) was the best thing that happened to me because that really gave me the wake-up call of 'hey, this is only going to get worse, and you're never going to come back from it unless you do something about it right now.' That really set the stage where I'm still having to deal with a lot of that now. I own it, and I accept it and all I can do now is show that I'm making an effort to improve myself and also talk about my story."
MORE: Matt DiBenedetto Deletes His Twitter Account Following His Comment on the Kyle Busch Controversy
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