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What’s Wrong With Spire Motorsports?

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What’s Happening?

As the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season nears its halfway point, Spire Motorsports, one of the most active teams of the 2023-24 offseason, is struggling mightily. While Carson Hocevar continues to impress in his first full-time Cup Series season, the other two teams sit outside the top 30 in owner’s points. What is wrong with Spire Motorsports?

  • Spire Motorsports made plenty of big moves in the 2023 off-season. They bought out Kyle Busch Motorsports, took over the shop space, and started a full-time 3-team Truck Series operation, gaining a fourth team via alliance with Rev Racing. The Cup Series team also moved into the shop.
  • Spire also signed team stalwart Corey LaJoie to a multi-year extension for the No. 7 car and brought in rookie Carson Hocevar on a multi-year deal to drive the No. 77. Spire also purchased a third charter from Live Fast Motorsports. Spire used that to field Zane Smith in the No. 71 via an alliance with Trackhouse.
  • Fans were excited to see what Spire could do in 2024. Unfortunately, expectations have not been met, and fans are left scratching their heads.

How Bad Is It, Really?

Last season, Spire Motorsports was a bit of an enigma, with one team showing improvement and the other lagging behind. This year, a similar trend has emerged in the exact opposite way.

Corey LaJoie enjoyed his best season yet, finishing a career-best 25th in points and posting career highs in top-5s (2), top-10s (3), laps led (66), and average finish (20.8). While not an amazing season by any stretch, he and Spire Motorsports were making genuine strides.

On the other hand, their second car wasn’t doing so well. Ty Dillon finished last amongst full-time drivers in points (32nd) with an abysmal 27.5 average finish. Conventional wisdom would say an upgrade in the driver’s seat would take Spire to the next level, and Carson Hocevar joined the team.

Reasonable expectations would say that this year, given all of Spire’s upgrades, Corey LaJoie would continue to improve, as Carson Hocevar struggles some while showing flashes of brilliance. The exact opposite of expectations has occurred.

DriverWinsTop-5sTop-10sAvg. FinishLaps LedPoints
Corey LaJoie01124.33832nd
Carson Hocevar00220.7321st

Carson Hocevar is blowing LaJoie out of the water. To this point, this is the best season a Spire Motorsports Cup Series driver has ever had. So, how did the worst team on the grid in 2023 become the top team at Spire?

The answer is Corey LaJoie and the No. 7 team hve gotten significantly worse. If he stays where he is in the standings, it would be the worst points finish of his full-time career. Something doesn’t smell right.

The third team at Spire, the No. 71, is performing even worse and sits dead last amongst full-time drivers and teams both in driver’s and owner’s points. Rookie Zane Smith joined the team on loan from Trackhouse for this season as Trackhouse tries to figure out how to get Smith into the fold full-time. His performance has been so bad that his future at Trackhouse is now uncertain.

WinsTop-5sTop-10sAvg. FinishLaps LedPoints

Now, this third team is much tougher to judge. Technically, it functions more as a Trackhouse satellite team with Zane Smith driving than a full Spire team.

What Has to Change?

In 2025, Spire will get a more fair shake with the No. 71 team. They have hired Michael McDowell, a two-time Cup Series winner, to drive the car in 2025. Can he find the same success with Spire?

As for the 2024 Spire crop, Carson Hocevar is doing just fine. He’s performing about where many expected Spire to be in 2024. He’s not necessarily a race-win contender every week, but he’s consistently in the top 20 and fighting for a top 10 on a lucky day.

Corey LaJoie, on the other hand, needs to show significant improvement. Spire signed him to a multi-year deal to be their anchor driver, and he has not performed at that level in 2024. It’s the same driver, crew chief, and car as 2023, so what gives?

It’s hard to pinpoint what caused this as it’s basically the same story as 2023 but in reverse. However, something is up with the No. 7 and No. 71 teams at Spire Motorsports.

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