NASCAR Cup Series
Corey LaJoie Inks Multi-Year Extension with Spire Motorsports
Aug 2, 2023
After getting the opportunity to serve as an interim driver for two different NASCAR Cup Series operations this year, Carson Hocevar has been selected as the primary driver of an entry at NASCAR's top level for 2024.
The 20-year-old driver has been selected by Spire Motorsports to serve as the full-time driver of the No. 77 Chevrolet in 2024, where he'll compete for Rookie of The Year (ROTY) honors against at least Zane Smith and Josh Berry.
"I mean, anybody in my position wants to be a Cup Series driver," said Hocevar. "That's what you dream about when you're young. You want to race on Sundays. So, my opportunity to run a few times this year, to run on Sunday and get ready, I feel more than prepared to get in the No. 77 car with Spire. That team is growing exponentially and I’m just excited for everything. I have a unique opportunity to build something and grow with it, while growing myself at the same time."
"For what we’ve been able to do from the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series to Cup is pretty crazy," said Hocevar. "I know it seems like a big jump. With all the tools and resources, and everybody at Spire Motorsports, they have put a lot of faith in me, and I have a lot of faith in them. We all have faith in the whole program. I feel like we can come out of the gate like we’ve done this for years.”
A native of Portage, Michigan, Hocevar originally broke onto the NASCAR scene before he was even eligible to compete full-time, making his Truck Series debut with Jordan Anderson Racing in 2019, at just 16 years old.
Hocevar joined Niece Motorsports in a part-time capacity for 2020, remaining with the organization through the present day, where he is currently competing for the NASCAR Truck Series championship in the No. 42 Chevrolet Silverado.
This season, Hocevar has expanded his schedule beyond just the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, with several planned starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with Spire Motorsports, before getting thrown into multiple interim driver roles in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Hocevar made his first-ever start in the NASCAR Cup Series at WWT Raceway, when serving as an interim driver for Corey LaJoie in the No. 7 Spire Motorsports entry - while LaJoie slotted into the Hendrick No. 9 for a suspended Chase Elliott. What started out as an impressive run was derailed by an exploding brake rotor, ending his afternoon early.
Once the NASCAR Playoffs got underway, LEGACY MOTOR CLUB then tapped Hocevar to drive the No. 42 Chevrolet, in what ended up being a deal encompassing nine of the final 10 NASCAR Cup Series events in 2023.
In his five starts with LEGACY M.C., Hocevar has thoroughly impressed, scoring four finishes inside the top-20, including a career-best 11th at Bristol, after spending much of the race running inside the top-10 in the running order.
“Carson Hocevar is a proven winner and excels with every opportunity,” said Spire Motorsports co-owner Jeff Dickerson. “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."
“We’re also very grateful to Ty Dillon for everything he’s done for our organization and the No. 77 team, in particular. Ty came to Spire Motorsports after the 2022 season and has put his best foot forward. He’s done everything we’ve asked of him. We know he’ll land with a top-flight race team and wish him the very best.”
Additional details including sponsorship announcements, and personnel for Hocevar's NASCAR Cup Series bid with Spire Motorsports in 2024, will come at a later date, as will the remainder of the team's personnel and sponsorship announcements.
For the 2024 season, Hocevar joins a three-entry lineup for Spire Motorsports at NASCAR's top level which will include long-time driver Corey LaJoie in the No. 7, and 2022 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Zane Smith in a third, currently unnumbered entry.
“Corey [LaJoie] and I have a great relationship,” said Hocevar. “Obviously, that’s going to exponentially grow when we spend day-to-day and week-on-week together, talking in the same meetings, working with the same people and same group, trying to pull the rope in the same direction. We’ve already started. He seems to have a lot of interest in what I’m doing, what my cars are driving like, and vice versa. We’ve started to compare driving notes a little bit. We talk about what each other is doing. I’m sure we’ll constantly be making ourselves go faster. There’s not a race within the shop, but we’ll work to make each other better."
“Me and Zane have talked a little bit and compared driver notes, too, at the Cup race at Texas a couple of weeks ago," added Hocevar. "Obviously, he’s coming in for a year at Spire so we talked a little bit. But, at the same time, we’re racing each other for a Truck Series championship so we compared Cup notes but stopped right there.”
Image Credit: Tyson Gifford, Racing America