Greensboro native and NASCAR driver Cody Ware addresses overcoming mental health hurdles

Big Race - Daytona

For some, racing is just in their blood.

“A lot of people thought I was pretty crazy to, you know, drop out of high school, and do all this stuff,” NASCAR #51 driver Cody Ware laughed.

As it turns out, it wasn’t so crazy for the Greensboro native to follow in his family’s footsteps and chase his racing dream after all. Driving under his father’s company Rick Ware Racing, he enters his sixth season in the Cup Series and his second trip to Daytona.

While Ware’s journey has been thrilling, it’s been anything but easy.

“I’ve always dealt with really bad migraines,” he mentioned.

Not something you want when speeding 200 mph down the track – where the threat of a migraine attack is ever-present.

“I did a very bad job at actually remedying that and taking care of it,” Ware explained.

In a high stress and competitive environment, Ware found his physical roadblocks stemmed from mental hurdles.

“I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for almost a decade now,” he mentioned.

When his physical and mental health started to take a toll on his track performance and daily life – Ware knew it was time to make a change.

“I kind of had to sit down with myself and be like – look, you’re not only going to ruin your career, but also not have people that you can rely on, count on because you’re pushing everybody away,” he said.

Ware’s now gotten to a point where he’s taken necessary steps to control his migraines and his mental health is on an upward trend. Now, he wants to show people that they’re not alone in whatever their struggles may be.

He advocates for others to get assistance to be the best version of themselves and emphasizes that it’s OK to not be OK.

“I’ve had a couple of suicide attempts in my past and it’s something that I don’t look back on with negativity,” he explained. “If you feel good about yourself and you’re feeling physically good and mentally good – I think that just breeds success.”

Not just success on the speedway, but success in his every day life and the lives of everyone he encounters.

“Driving a racecar, it’s fun, it’s cool. It’s my career. But you know, I want to leave this planet feeling like I did something truly important which is hopefully saving somebody or stopping someone from doing something they shouldn’t,” he said.

From hitting rock bottom to overcoming every obstacle in his way, Ware enters this season behind the wheel with eyes set on victory lane.

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