This week, on an episode of "The Dale Jr Download," Justin Haley opened up about his decision to join Rick Ware Racing in 2024.
On July 20th, it was announced that Haley was going to be leaving Kaulig Racing at the end of 2023 to join Rick Ware Racing for a multi-year deal beginning in 2024.
Haley's move left many people scratching their heads because Rick Ware Racing has not consistently fielded competitive cars.
Haley knew this would be a confusing decision to many people in the industry. He also thought people would speculate that he was let go from Kaulig Racing if the deal was leaked out to the media before he could announce it.
"It was important for me to control how this announcement went out. I couldn't let word get out that I was going to RWR before I announced it," Haley said. "The reason why is; I had to control my own destiny. If it was let out that I was going to Rick's at the time, people would've said he's getting fired from Kaulig and Rick's is the only place he can go."
It appears that Rick Ware Racing is making the next step up as a team in the NASCAR Cup Series. This year, they brought in Ryan Newman to drive the car for a handful of races. Newman qualified in the top 30 twice and has four top 30 finishes in his five starts this season but the team has now turned to Haley to help it become a more competitive organization.
Haley first met with Rick Ware on the campus of Roush Fenway-Keselowski Racing. The two teams work closely together and Roush Fenway-Keselowski Racing must approve any new potential team members at Rick Ware Racing.
"Everything Rick does, Brad and RFK have to approve," Haley said. "I want to be clear, Rick found me and Rick pitched me to Brad. Brad and RFK have final decision in crew chiefs, people, and everything."
This means that Haley got the seal of approval from Brad Keselowski to join the team.
"I go down and we start discussing stuff in the board room and Brad Keselowski walks in," Haley said. "Keselowski walks in and tells me the deal, tells me everything that I want to hear and that he wants me to drive for them."
Walking into the shop and having Keselowski be involved helped Haley make the decision to join Rick Ware Racing in 2024. He will be the headline driver and, with the recent success of Roush Fenway-Keselowski Racing, it seems possible that Rick Ware Racing can improve its performance in the near future.
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