USA Today via Reuters

USA Today via Reuters

Spire Motorsports made a significant announcement yesterday, revealing their plans for their No. 71 car. Front Row Motorsports star Michael McDowell is going to join the team next season, replacing rookie Zane Smith. Earlier, McDowell and Front Row revealed that they were breaking the seven-year-long tie. The 39-year-old would definitely be a valuable addition to the struggling Spire team. As per their plans, McDowell can get along well with #7 Corey LaJoie, #77, and another rookie, Carson Hocevar.

However, what if Carson Hocevar, being the talented driver he is, gets spotted by any big teams? It is quite obvious that he’ll choose the better option, a team where he can genuinely compete for the championship. The argument was raised by none other than senior NASCAR insider Bob Pockrass.

Spire Motorsports can be in trouble next season

FOX Senior Journalist Bob Pockrass predicts that if Carson Hocevar manages to get in line with a different team, Spire’s selling Smith would indeed cost them. They’ll lose them both! The experience of both McDowell and LaJoie will be there, but the enthusiasm of a young rookie will be absent. Spire boasts this season, having two contenders for the rookie award on their team.

Pockrass said, “Spire president Doug Duchardt said today he is confident Hocevar will be at Spire next year (I speculated if he continues to run well, a bigger team could try to get him). Duchardt plan all along was for Zane Smith to run 1 year at Spire while under Trackhouse contract.”

Spire Motorsports president Doug Duchardt expressed confidence in Michael McDowell’s abilities. He stated that the latter’s track record as a winner sets him apart. His NASCAR playoff experience indeed makes him an asset to the team, and his dedication can work as a blessing in disguise. He further believes that his experience and enthusiasm will mesh well with Spire Motorsports’ values.

The rookie-of-the-year battle between Carson Hocevar and Zane Smith

Although Smith’s return to his team, Trackhouse Racing, is almost confirmed, Duchardt assures that they are not going to make any changes this season. He said, “Our 2024 plan for the No. 71 team remains unchanged. Spire Motorsports fully supports Zane Smith and Stephan Doran. We remain committed to the success of our collaboration with Trackhouse. That team is just beginning to realize its potential. We’re looking forward to seeing how the Rookie of the Year battle plays out between Zane and Carson.”

Carson Hocevar and Zane Smith are locked in an internal team battle for the 2024 NASCAR Rookie of the Year title. Carson Hocevar, driving Spire Motorsports’ No. 77 Chevrolet, has been performing well this season. He leads the rookie standings and ranks 22nd in the overall driver standings. Hocevar achieved his first Top 10 finish at Texas and has maintained an average finish of 19th since the Daytona 500.

Zane Smith, in the No. 71 Chevrolet for Spire Motorsports, had a strong start with a P13 finish at Daytona. However, he has struggled to maintain that momentum, managing just one other top-25 finish this year. On the other hand, Josh Berry, competing for Stewart-Haas Racing, is also in a favorable position to challenge for the award.

It would be interesting to see who finally gets to clinch the much-anticipated award. More interestingly, if Hocevar gets his hand on the trophy, do you think he will stay at Spire Motorsports for the next season?