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What is the Next Step for NASCAR’s Up-and-Coming Race Teams?

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The NASCAR Cup Series is home to a few up-and-coming race teams heading into 2024. From Trackhouse to Spire Motorsports to even Rick Ware Racing, there are plenty of reasons for optimism for plenty of race teams. However, in order to take that next step from race-win contender to Champion or from plucky underdog to a formidable foe, these teams need to take that next step. What does that mean for each race team?

Trackhouse: Figure Out The Future and Win a Championship

Trackhouse has a problem and a good problem at that. They have too many drivers and not enough race cars. With SVG signed a development deal for 2024, and Zane Smith under contract at Trackhouse but out on loan at Spire, Trackhouse needs to find a way to fit them under their roof eventually. This means there may be some tough decisions, but, it also means they could open some new race teams.

Regardless of what that will look like, Trackhouse will look very different over the next few years. Whether that means more teams or new faces in new places, this is something that Trackhouse needs to decide heading into the future.

On top of that, Trackhouse has proven they can get to a Championship 4 and consistently compete for wins, but, their next step is to win a Championship. That is the next big goal with the race team, and, with Ross Chastain’s win at Phoenix in the season finale, they know they can win at the track that hosts the finale. Last year, they were not quite fast or consistent enough to get to the Championship 4, but, they have another chance in 2024.

Spire: Spend The Money in the Right Places

Spire Motorsports burst onto the scene throughout all of NASCAR Silly Season. They bought out Kyle Busch Motorsports, expanding their Truck Series team to three full-time trucks for 2024. They also bought Live Fast Motorsports’ charter to expand to three full-time Cup Series cars, and that is where Zane Smith and Carson Hocevar came in.

This came largely because of significant funding from a new sponsor, Gainbridge. Now that Spire has the money, and they have used that money in multiple places, they need to use these new resources wisely. Having the best shop and a good sponsor can only go so far if they are not used properly.

It will likely take time for Spire to get to the level of winning races consistently. They have resources now, and it is all about using them correctly. Once that is mastered, then watch out for Spire.

Rick Ware Racing: Start Getting Consistent Results

Rick Ware Racing went from an afterthought to an interesting race team this year. Justin Haley will join the team in 2024, and Haley has shown flashes with Kaulig Racing in the Cup Series. RWR also has an alliance with RFK Racing, and they have brought interesting drivers such as Jenson Button and Ryan Newman to their team to race.

With RWR looking like they are finally trending upwards, the goal now is to start getting consistently good results. Not necessarily top-5s and top-10s, but, consistently getting into the top-25 or even the top 20 is a good goal for the team. They have perennially been one of the bottom feeders in the owner’s points, so they need to slowly work their way up from that.

It seems they have the pieces in place to potentially make that happen. It’s not about winning races or making the Playoffs, rather, it is about getting consistent results that keep the team out of the cellar of the points standings.

Which race team could make the biggest jump in 2024? Will each of these race teams be able to take the next step that they are hoping for? Time will tell ultimately, but they will be closely watched by fans and those in the industry in 2024.

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Joshua Lipowski

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