Kaz Grala will run most of the NASCAR Cup Series season in the No. 15 Ford Mustang for Rick Ware Racing.
“Kaz Grala is a talented and tenacious driver who brings a lot to our race team,” said Rick Ware. “He has an incredible work ethic and leverages every opportunity to its full potential. He’s an asset inside and outside of the car who will help make our program better.
Grala will have 25 races behind the wheel, but his full schedule has not been announced. His season will start with the Busch Light Clash at the L.A. Coliseum Feb. 4, followed by the Feb. 25 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“I’ve found myself as an underdog at each level of NASCAR, and I feel I thrive in that position,” Grala said. “It’s important to get the most out of the car on restarts and in the closing laps of a race, all while taking care of the equipment, and those are my strengths. I also like to be hands-on with the team during the week, involved in what the next step is to advance our program.”
Grala has not run a Cup Series race since 2022, when he made three starts for The Money Team Racing. Grala has made seven career starts since 2020, with two top-10 finishes. His debut, a seventh-place finish, came with Richard Childress Racing on the Daytona road course as a substitute driver for Austin Dillon.
Last year, Grala ran the full NASCAR Xfinity Series season with Sam Hunt Racing. He finished 17th in the championship standings with nine top-10s.
“I’ve gotten the chance to race in the Cup Series a handful of times already, so I know how big of a jump it is from the Xfinity Series,” he said.
“The depth of talent in Cup is steep. It really is the highest level of motorsport in the U.S., with both the quality of teams and the drivers. Last year, the Xfinity Series had a particularly deep field of full-time competitors, so I feel like 2023 was the right year for me to gain experience ahead of this next step in my career.
“Anytime you sit in a Cup car, you have more eyes on you than at any other level. There’s more pressure, but at the same time I feel like there’s something more calming about racing on Sundays, considering I’ve been pushing to make that a reality since I was single digits in age. As a competitor, you love the idea of competing against the best of the best, so I couldn’t be more up for the challenge that’s ahead of me this year.”
Grala, 25, has also competed in the Craftsman Truck Series, where he has one win in 51 career starts. He ran the full season in 2017 with GMS Racing and finished seventh in the championship.
Grala will be a teammate to Justin Haley, who is the organization’s full-time driver in the No. 51 Ford Mustang.
“I’ve been really impressed by RWR’s vision and the plan they’ve laid out to get where they want to be,” Grala said. “This sport is all about people, and I’ve learned that having everyone pulling in the same direction is the key to success. Every single person at RWR is a racer, and they want to prove themselves in the Cup Series just as badly as I do, so it’s a perfect fit. I’m excited to see what we’re able to accomplish together. I think we’re going to surprise some people this year.”
“Kaz is another crucial piece of our organization and for the same reasons we brought Justin Haley on board, we feel Kaz can also contribute immediately,” Ware said. “Kaz wants to make a difference and, above all, he wants to perform. That’s the kind of drive and determination all of us have at RWR.”
Additional drivers for the No. 15 car have not been announced. Billy Plourde will serve as the team’s crew chief.