In June, Josh Bilicki will make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut for Rick Ware Racing. Driving the team’s #51 Chevrolet SS, he will debut at Sonoma Raceway, followed by running the Cup Series’ second road course race at Watkins Glen International in August. The announcement was made on Friday.
“Words can’t describe how excited I am to be making my NASCAR Monster Energy Cup debut with Rick Ware Racing,” Bilicki stated. “First, I can’t thank Rick enough for giving me this opportunity to get behind the wheel of the No. 51 RWR Chevrolet. Rick, like myself, comes from a road course background, so I feel like this is a very natural fit. I’ve been around the team for several of this season’s Cup races and the team is very impressive and are improving every week. I hope to earn some respect from my competitors and turn heads in the process.”
Bilicki, a current Trans-Am sports car racer, also has road racing experience in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), TA2 Series and NASA Pro Racing. In 2015, he started racing in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, racing at Road America and Circuit of the Americas for Burton Racing. A year later, he made his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Road America as a road course ringer for Obaika Racing, where he finished 38th after suffering from mechanical problems. He also ran the last two races of the season at Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway for Obaika, finishing 28th and 34th, respectively. He is expected to continue racing with Obaika for the 2017 Xfinity season.
“I’ve worked a long time with the dream to compete in NASCAR,” he commented. “We have some reasonable goals and expectations. If we’re able to accomplish those, we’ll leave the track feeling like we scored the victory. I’m still learning a lot about these stock cars, but I’m hoping my road course instincts will allow us a chance to exceed our hopes.”
New for the 2017 Cup season, #51 is Rick Ware Racing’s first foray into the Cup Series since 2012. Fielding the car for Cody Ware and Timmy Hill in all seven races, the team’s best finish is 32nd at Phoenix with Hill. RWR is currently 40th in the owners’ championship. In January, the team announced plans for Kevin O’Connell and Stanton Barrett, both with road racing experience, to drive the #51; with Bilicki joining the team for the two races, O’Connell and Barrett’s schedules have not been revealed.
The Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma will be held on June 25, while the Watkins Glen 355 will be held on August 6.
Featured image courtesy of Road America