Today, Spire Motorsports announced it has agreed to a multi-year contract with three-time NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series (NCTS) race winner and 2023 championship contender Carson Hocevar to drive the team‘s No. 77 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in the NASCAR Cup Series (NCS).
Hocevar, 20, made his NCS debut for Spire Motorsports June 4 at World Wide Technology Raceway and has since competed five more times in NASCAR‘s premier division for Legacy Motor Club. He earned an impressive career/series best 11th-place finish at the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway in just his fourth start.
The Portage, Mich., native has been a standout at every level in which he‘s competed, beginning with USAC quarter midgets and now, culminating at NASCAR‘s highest level.
“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. 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.”
Spire Motorsports was founded in 2018 and has logged 280 Cup Series starts, posting one win, five top fives and nine top 10s. Since then, its teams and drivers have become Cup Series mainstays.
Hocevar will be teamed with Corey LaJoie, driver of the team‘s No. 7 Chevrolet and rising star Zane Smith, who will campaign the team‘s third entry on behalf of Trackhouse Racing.
Following the 2023 season, the team will relocate from its current Concord, N.C., headquarters to Mooresville, N.C. Earlier this month, Spire Motorsports announced the acquisition of a third NASCAR charter and will house an additional NCS entry for Smith.
“Corey 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 weeks ago. 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.”
Hocevar is currently second in the NCTS championship standings with two races remaining, just 10 points outside the top spot heading into the division‘s penultimate race next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
He made his NCTS debut August 1, 2019 at Eldora Speedway and, since then, has collected one pole, 20 top-five and 32 top-10 finishes, including five runner-up efforts. He finished 10th in NCTS points in 2021 and 2022.
Hocevar began racing USAC quarter midgets when he was seven-years-old and amassed 79 feature wins and 15 national championships. He has close ties to fellow Michigan driver Johnny Benson Jr., a former NASCAR Xfintiy Series (NXS) and NCTS Champion.
Hocevar earned his first super late model victory at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway at just 13-years-old and went on to win the track‘s premier division championship in 2017. He won the famed Winchester 400 super late model race at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in 2020 and continues to be a regular at some of the nation‘s most high-profile pavement super late model races.
In addition to his NCS debut, Hocevar has made four NXS starts for Spire Motorsports in 2023, with a pair of top-10 finishes coming in May at Darlington Raceway (sixth) and Charlotte Motor Speedway (eighth).
“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.”
In the meantime, Hocevar is determined not to be distracted from the task at hand – pursuing NCTS championship honors for Niece Motorsports. He‘ll also continue in his role with Legacy Motor Club at the controls of the No. 42 Chevrolet for the final four races of the 2023 season.
“I‘ve always been super easy going and I just kind of let things do what they need to do,” offered Hocevar. “If it was anything other than racing, I‘d be overwhelmed and stressed and worried but, once I‘m in a race car and put a helmet on, I forget anything (else) is happening.”
— Spire Motorsports —