WATCH – BACK ON TRACK – 

May 13, 2021 – Ware has opened up with frank transparency about his past, using it as a means to move forward in his ongoing fight with the effects of depression. In the film, he details his relationship with the clique he fell in with as a teenager and how their interactions went from relatively minor mischief to a dark place. One day in woods, Ware’s group scattered and fled after soaking him with gasoline and setting his legs ablaze.

Help eventually came, and a painful recovery from severe burns followed. But so did mental anguish and a struggle to find his way after the trauma. That part of the story represented a long road back, but Ware found an outlet in following the path of his father, Rick, into motorsports. To this day, racing remains a refuge, one where he’s able to block out disruptions.

“It really just boils down to living in the moment,” Ware says. “When you’re doing something as all-intensive as driving a race car is, it just gets rid of the static and the chatter so all the doubts or fears that I might have that always are prevalent in day-to-day life, those thoughts just turn off because it’s just 110 percent focused on living in the moment and driving the race car to where — even if I wanted to — I don’t have time to think about all those other things that would normally worry me or bother me.  As social platforms go, escaping the negativity that exists hasn’t always been easy. Some of that friction flared after last month’s race at Martinsville Speedway, where an on-track altercation with teammate James Davison became heated, sparking conflict within the team. Critics were quick to associate Ware’s mental-health battles with the short-track frustrations many drivers face at Martinsville. Ware says it has led him to maintain a lower profile on social media in the weeks since.

“I know that I’m not the first and I’m not the last person that’s ever going to lose their mind and have moment at a place like Martinsville,” Ware says, “but a lot of the people who were making it about mental health or being like, ‘ahh, he’s angry and he wrecked his teammate because he’s crazy and has mental-health issues,’ it’s like … no. I lost my cool at a short track. I did something dumb. Everyone’s done something that they’ve regretted and known was wrong, especially in racing at a place like that.

more@NASCAR

[ninja-popup ID=12216]