One racing incident at the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course has just earned racer Ryan Ellis his first Cup Series start since November of 2016. It’s a very special move from the competitor who crashed into him, Cody Ware, and his father, Rick Ware, who runs a NASCAR team.
Back at Mid-Ohio during the June 5 Xfinity event, Ellis and Ware got into a last-lap tangle that saw Ellis knocked out of the race. It was a harsh blow for a driver who spent all of 2020 away from the driver’s seat and who had finished well in the previous stages, though Ellis was quick to note he didn’t feel it was intentional; it was, more than anything, a racing incident. Still, Ellis was denied a potential top-15 finish and was forced to finish 28th.
“Cody [Ware] is like a little brother to me; it means so much to me that they’d do this for me,” Ellis told racing website Kickin’ the Tires. “What happened at Mid-Ohio was a racing incident. Cody is one of my best friends, so I knew he would never get into me on purpose. I knew he felt bad but by no means did I expect them to reach out with a cool and unique opportunity like this.”
Ware’s response to the incident was to convene with his father in order to offer Ellis a ride at Kansas Speedway for the 267-lap Hollywood Casino 400 this October. That race will be Ellis’ sixth start in the NASCAR Cup Series, giving him a shot at proving himself throughout a fairly sporadic career.
The news was revealed on an episode of the Not Another Racing Podcast show, where Ware was discussing his IndyCar debut and chatted with Ellis about the Mid-Ohio incident.
“Afterwards, you know how horrible I felt—the text messages were gold, the gifs and everything you sent me,” Ware said on the podcast. “At that point, me and my dad were talking and obviously, he knows how bad I felt. He felt bad for you too. We both know how hard you work and you’re always digging to find sponsorship to get to the race track any chance you get.
“That’s why we’re super stoked to be able to bring you on for the Cup race at Kansas later on this season, to give you another chance and hopefully just let you have some fun and do what you do.”
It’s a wonderful display of camaraderie that modern racing can sorely lack.