Rick Ware Racing (RWR) has added to its already versatile motorsports portfolio by fielding a two-car effort in the 2024 Whelen Mazda MX-5 Cup season, which kicks off this Thursday and Friday at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
RWR will enter one Mazda MX-5 Miata for 26-year-old Preston Pardus and a second Mazda MX-5 Miata for 28-year-old Cody Ware. The endeavor further widens RWR’s scope, with the North Carolina-based team already campaigning two fulltime entries in the NASCAR Cup Series as well as successful teams in the Top Fuel class of the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series, the NTT INDYCAR Series, Progressive American Flat Track and FIM World Supercross Championship (WSX).
“Mazda has been putting significant effort into the promotion and marketing of Whelen Mazda MX-5 Cup and we wanted to be a part of its impressive growth. Preston Pardus is going to run the full schedule for RWR with the goal of contending for the championship,” said RWR owner Rick Ware, who in 2023 enjoyed three Top Fuel wins with driver Clay Millican, two Progressive American Flat Track wins with rider Briar Bauman, and multiple WSX victories between riders Shane McElrath and teammate Joey Savatgy.
“The Whelen Mazda MX-5 Cup is a very competitive series with a lot of depth. It’s been on our radar for a while and now is the right time to get involved.”
Pardus is from New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and has already enjoyed success with Mazda. The son of former NASCAR Cup Series driver Dan Pardus is the four-time and reigning SCCA National Champion in the Spec Miata division.
“Being a part of Rick Ware Racing in Whelen Mazda MX-5 Cup is a great opportunity and I can’t wait for the season to start,” said Pardus, whose Spec Miata titles came in the SCCA National Championship Runoffs in 2017, 2020, 2021 and 2023. “RWR has a put significant effort into their MX-5 program and having Cody as a teammate adds a lot of depth with all of his road-racing experience. With the close racing MX-5 Cup always produces, it’s a huge asset to have a teammate like Cody.”
Ware has substantial road-course experience, most recently with a podium finish last Saturday at Daytona driving a Ligier JS P320 in the IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge LMP3 class.
“Sports-car racing is where my career began and it’s a form of racing I’ve always enjoyed,” Cody Ware said. “Preston is an accomplished road-course racer, especially in the Miatas, and we’re going to achieve a lot together.”
The Whelen Mazda MX-5 Cup season consists of 14 races spread across seven weekends, with each event consisting of two rounds. The first two rounds takes place this Thursday and Friday at the 12-turn, 3.56-mile Daytona road course as an undercard event to the 62nd Rolex 24 Jan. 27-28 on the storied layout. After Daytona, the Whelen Mazda MX-5 Cup heads south to Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway March 14-15 before trekking west to Monterey, California, at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca May 11-12. Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, is next up June 8-9 followed by a trip north of the border to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, July 13-14. The penultimate event of the Whelen Mazda MX-5 Cup season takes place Aug. 24-25 at VIRginia International Raceway in Alton and then culminates with the season finale Oct. 10-11 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia.
Race 1 of the 2024 Whelen Mazda MX-5 Cup from Daytona goes green at 4:15 p.m. EST on Thursday and Race 2 takes place at 10:15 a.m. EST on Friday. Both races will be streamed live on Racer.com and IMSA.com/TVlive.