Change is in the air at Spire Motorsports headed into the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season.

And, by all appearances, the changes are for the better.

After struggling to consistently compete with the sport’s more established teams since joining the ranks of NASCAR’s premier division in 2019, Spire Motorsports has bolstered its driver lineup, its competition department, and its list of corporate sponsors in a big way over the last several months.

Perhaps most significantly, the organization co-owned by longtime NASCAR industry executives Jeff Dickerson and Thaddeus “T.J.” Puchyr has expanded from a two-car to a three-car Cup Series team and moved into the 77,000 square foot Mooresville, North Carolina race shop that was previously the home of Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Spire announced in September that it had purchased the assets of KBM from team owner Kyle Busch and would be relocating from its then-current race shop in Concord, North Carolina.

New to Spire Motorsports this year is a pair of rookie drivers: Carson Hocevar — a 2023 Championship 4 qualifier in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series — and 2022 Craftsman Truck Series champion Zane Smith, who won nine races and finished first or second in the standings three times over his four seasons as a full-time truck competitor.

Smith ran a partial Cup Series schedule last year for Front Row Motorsports along with the entire truck slate and is now under contract with Trackhouse Racing but on loan to Spire for 2024 as Spire fields a third full-time Cup Series entry for the first time after purchasing a charter to the tune of approximately $40 million.

Hocevar and Smith are joining veteran Spire Motorsports driver Corey LaJoie, who signed a contract extension with the team last year. Ty Dillon, LaJoie’s 2023 teammate at Spire, is no longer with the organization.

The front office at Spire Motorsports also has a new look with the arrival of longtime Hendrick Motorsports executive Doug Duchardt as team president. Add to the mix several newly signed primary sponsors — including Zeigler Auto Group, Celsius, and Chili’s Grill & Bar — and it’s clear that Spire is a growing organization that’s determined to put itself in a position to make a quantum leap from last season.

LaJoie and Dillon combined for just three top-10 finishes in 2023 and all of them came courtesy of LaJoie, who finished 25th in the standings.

“I’m thrilled to kick off another race season with Celsius,” said LaJoie, who recently re-upped with the primary sponsor. “I’m confident we can bring a car that drives well and has some speed this year. We’ve had a couple of good sim sessions and worked really hard during the off-season to be racing for a chance to bring our Celsius Camaro to Victory Lane in 2024.”

To say that Spire has room to improve from past seasons would be an understatement, but the good news is that the organization has laid a foundation to do just that — and potentially in a big way.

“I’m very excited to get going,” said Hocevar, who will campaign Spire Motorsports’ No. 77 Chevrolet after agreeing to a multi-year contract with the organization. “Honestly just looking forward to going racing this season. We’ve had a very productive off-season — new shop, new people, new cars. I’m excited to see our work in the offseason come to fruition.”

As for any specific goals he has for 2024, Hocevar is mainly focused on just getting better as a driver as he gets more experience under his belt.

“I don’t have a lot of goals week in and week out,” said the 21-year-old driver, who went to Victory Lane four times last season in the Craftsman Truck Series. “I just want us to be the best as a group as we can between communication, working on the cars, and improving each week. It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish.”

Hocevar, who signed with Spire in October, was the final addition to the team’s new three-driver lineup for is Cup Series program.

“Carson Hocevar is a proven winner and excels with every opportunity,” Dickerson said. “He’s an undeniable talent and reminds me a lot of a young Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski. We’re thrilled to have him join the Spire Motorsports family and help us continue to raise our competitive bar. Carson has driven the wheels off everything he’s ever raced and done more with less on multiple occasions.

“He has a knack for getting the most out of his equipment and that speaks directly to his desire behind the wheel. His attitude is infectious, and he’s the kind of guy who’s just fun to be around. We think he’ll complement Corey and Zane very well.”

Together, Hocevar, Smith and LaJoie have a chance to turn Spire Motorsports into a contender in 2024. Will it happen?

If it doesn’t, it certainly won’t be for a lack of optimism or changes within the organization.

Circle B Diecast Push Down