Trackhouse Racing Secures Zane Smith in a Multi-Year Deal, Partners with Spire Motorsports
Saturday's announcement included Smith going full-time racing in the NASCAR Cup Series starting in 2024, Trackhouse Racing's partnership with Spire Motorsports and Spire's purchase of a charter from Live Fast Motorsports.
Trackhouse Racing announced Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway that the team has inked Zane Smith to a multi-year deal that will have him part of the Trackhouse family for years to come.
Smith is heralded as one of the top prospects in the sport and will now get the opportunity to compete full time starting in 2024, something that was not lost on the 24-year-old driver.
He was clearly emotional when he began to talk about the opportunity, saying he was able to hold it together during his 2022 championship speech but the emotions got the best of him on Saturday.
“It’s the world to me. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. Just the sacrifices that have been made, that’s where all of the emotion comes from and how bad I want it,” said Smith
I will do whatever it takes to win on Sunday. I now have that chance thanks to Justin Marks."
"I’m ready to go compete on Sundays. That's crazy to say," he said.
The 2022 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion has seven Cup Series starts under his belt, including a 10th-place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway earlier this year for Front Row Motorsports. That effort in the Coca-Cola 600 was one that caught the attention of Trackhouse.
In addition, Trackhouse has created a partnership with Spire Motorsports to field a full-time car for Smith in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2024. Spire has secured a third charter for next season, which will guarantee Smith a spot in the field each weekend.
Justin Marks indicated Trackhouse's partnership with Spire is mainly focused on Smith and his development as a driver.
"(The alliance with Spire) is mainly focused on Zane," he said. "Zane singed a contract with Trackhouse. Zane is going to have a presence in our shop. He is going to have a presence in our systems and our meetings. Zane is a driver that we have placed over, with the help of Spire, in another car. It's really to make sure that all of Zane's opportunities, development, experiences, everything next year is in the context of him learning in the first year of the Cup Series and becoming a Trackhouse driver under our roof."
Live Fast Motorsports confirmed on social media the team has sold their charter to Spire Motorsports.
Bill Anthony, president of Spire Motorsports, made sure to thank B.J. McLeod and Matt Tifft for their cooperation and teamwork in handling the transfer of the charter.
"I appreciate everything they have done and how they've contributed to the sport," he said.
Smith was under contract with Chip Ganassi Racing when Marks and Trackhouse purchased the assets from Ganassi, but the organization was unable to honor the contract and find a place for him on the team. Years later, Marks was able to make good on the contract and find a home for Smith.
"Unfortunately, it was a weird situation we were all in," Smith said of his previous arrangement with Ganassi. "Truthfully, I don't know if I was ready as a race car driver to take on Sunday. Now that I've gotten my feet wet in the Cup Series, I truly do believe I'm ready now and I'm excited for next year with Spire to learn. It's a whole different ball game. I'm just ready to attack it and take advantage of the opportunity I have in front of me. It's everything I've ever wanted."
The teams did not announce a sponsor or car number for the 2024 efforts for Smith, but said news on both would come at a later date.
Photo courtesy Jonathan McCoy, Racing America