Rick Ware Racing has spent the majority of the 2010 season competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and has not seen action in the Nationwide Series since February.
When asked why the team was competing at the upcoming Royal Purple 200 at Darlington Raceway, owner of RWR, Rick Ware, struggled to find the right words.
"We are racing Darlington for a purpose," Ware said.
Within the past thirty days, RWR signed Kids Embrace to select primary races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Kids Embrace is the manufacturer of automotive children safety seats and the marketing plan for Kids Embrace was one of great importance, safety among our children in automotive child seats.
This past Wednesday, Rick Ware Racing looked right into the face of how crucial automobile safety is.
"We lost two great kids, two great friends, and it didn’t have to happen," Ware said.
Justin Simmons, a partner to Ware’s oldest son for confirmation at church, and his classmate, Jacob Nance - two young students from High Point Christian Academy in High Point, N.C. - lost their lives in a car crash just 500 feet from the school.
"I have known Justin nearly his entire life," a choked-up Ware said. "He was a great kid, and Jacob was as well. The kids today just don’t realize how dangerous automobiles are. They left the school to go to lunch just 500 yards away and the car they were in got flipped. Four kids were in the car, two wearing seat belts, and Justin and Jacob were the two not wearing them.
"We have to buckle up immediately before we drive. Nobody would ever leave pit road and buckle up on the track. This has proved how crucial the timing is."
RWR contacted Kids Embrace and requested their assistance to bring more light to automobile safety and they happily agreed. Ware then reached out to long time friend and driver Stanton Barrett to help spread the message.
"Stanton is a key person on safety," Ware said. "After coordinating thousands of automobile crashes on Hollywood sets for movies and television shows, he not only teaches safety on the set but he is alive because of it."
Barrett has also directed, produced and starred in commercials for "Buckle Up Illinois" in recent years, again informing the youth the importance of seatbelts.
"This has been hard on the entire team and Rick, Kids Embrace, myself and the entire RWR team has made it a year-long promise to promote safety by not only wearing our seatbelts but talk to others about it as well," Barrett said.
Rick Ware Racing will be displaying a logo on their cars and trucks all year in remembrance of Justin and Jacob that will begin this week with the running of the Royal Purple 200 at Darlington on Friday night.
"This is a tragedy that his hit our team and community very hard, but we learn through the lives lost," Ware said. "It is our purpose."