NASCAR Cup Series
Chase Elliott Benched for Intentionally Wrecking Denny Hamlin; Corey LaJoie Driving Hendrick No. 9
May 30, 2023
The NASCAR Cup Series field is set to look a bit different this weekend at Gateway, as the one-race suspension of Chase Elliott - for intentionally wrecking Denny Hamlin in the Coca-Cola 600 - has sent a chain reaction through the garage.
Corey LaJoie, who usually drives the No. 7 for Spire Motorsports in the NASCAR Cup Series, will vacate his usual entry this weekend at Gateway, in exchange for the Hendrick Motorsports No. 9.
That move, which provides LaJoie with the best opportunity of his NASCAR Cup Series career, leaves an opening in the No. 7 Chevrolet Camaro, one that will be filled by Carson Hocevar.
Hocevar, a full-time driver in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for Niece Motorsports, will take over the ride for Spire Motorsports in what will be his NASCAR Cup Series debut.
“We’re always happy to help our friends at Hendrick Motorsports and couldn’t be prouder to see Corey LaJoie get the opportunity of a lifetime to race a Hendrick Motorsports’ Chevrolet,” said Spire Motorsports co-owner Jeff Dickerson. “When we were approached by HMS, it was really an easy answer. Our entire organization and the whole team at Schluter Systems are on board and thrilled to see Corey realize an incredible opportunity.
The Portage, Michigan-native has competed in a pair of NASCAR Xfinity Series events for Spire Motorsports this season, recording a pair of top-10 finishes at Darlington and Charlotte.
"At the same time, we’re eager to see Carson Hocevar get behind the wheel of the No. 7 Schluter Systems Chevy Camaro. Carson has proven to be more than capable and he’s done a great job in our No. 77 Premier Security Chevrolet in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. This is a win for everyone involved.”
The 20-year-old driver will have a 20-minute practice session, and then one qualifying lap on Saturday to get acclimated to NASCAR's NextGen car, which he will be making his first laps in this weekend.
Image Courtesy of Craig White, Racing America