Richfield, WI - Josh Bilicki and Rick Ware Racing accomplished their goals of finishing Josh's first NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway in California. However, it did not come without a challenge.
After a total of only 32 laps in both practices, Bilicki out-qualified many NASCAR regulars. Starting the race in 33rd, he quickly showed that he compete with the best stockcar drivers in the world by making several passes and moving up the field. By the end of stage one, Bilicki and the number 51 team found themselves inside of the top twenty. Josh stayed out while most teams ahead pit during the caution, moving them to seventh. Once the green flag dropped for segment two, Bilicki and several cars ahead of him who also did not pit were sitting ducks to the cars behind with fresh tires. Once the field sorted out and Josh stopped for fuel and tires, he found himself in 32nd position, right behind road course veteran, Borid Said. The two drivers battled for several laps until the end of segment two. Both drivers finished within the top twenty.
The third segment of the race would be the longest at sixty laps. Josh pit for fuel and tires and restarted in 29th position. After battling with Landon Cassill and Ty Dillon, Bilicki's Chevrolet SS began to over heat and Josh was forced to bring the car into the pits. The car would have to be pushed behind the wall to cool the engine. After several minutes and about six laps lost, Bilicki was able to get back on the race track to finish the remaining ten laps. Bilicki finished 36th.
"My first NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series race weekend was amazing," says Bilicki. "The results may not have shown, but we showed good speed throughout the race, especially when we were on good tires. The Rick Ware Racing crew did a great job of preparing my Marriott Construction Companies of Milwaukee / Climate FieldView Chevrolet. I hope to be back in this series very soon!"
Full results from the race can be found here:
Full photo gallery can be found here: