NASCAR: Small team set for huge improvement in 2021?

Spire Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Spire Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Spire Motorsports haven’t been known for many things in the NASCAR Cup Series aside from finishing outside the top 30 in the owner standings and their stunning win in the rain-shortened 2019 Coke Zero Sugar 400.

But could the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season be the year of a significant improvement?

That’s what Corey LaJoie, the newest driver of the Spire Motorsports stable, believes.

LaJoie is slated to drive for the new #7 team. Spire Motorsports expanded to become a two-car team for 2021, purchasing the assets from the now defunct Leavine Family Racing.

More from NASCAR Cup Series

And with this purchase, combined with their partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing and their engine deal with Hendrick Motorsports, LaJoie claimed in his Daytona 500 media availability earlier this week that not only is this the best ride that he has ever had, but that Spire Motorsports can claim some top 20 finishes, and maybe even a playoff spot.

“These are the nicest cars that I’ve ever had, it will be the best motors I’ve ever had, and the group of leadership top to bottom,” LaJoie said. “There’s really no reason why we can’t execute and be in the conversation for guys who might be able to point their way in the playoffs.”

He believes that the bar has not been set very high throughout his career and claims that these cars are “something to race”.

No previous driver who has raced for Spire Motorsports has had as much confidence and optimism as LaJoie brings to the team. He claimed that this confidence stems from the building blocks the team have added, with each one making him more optimistic.

But the question that Spire Motorsports are focusing on now is this: can they win the Daytona 500?

One year ago, the #77 team had a chance to win the “Great American Race” with Ross Chastain behind the wheel with two laps to go. Chastain had a run on the inside line going into turn one until he made contact with Ryan Preece, causing a massive wreck.

This year, 2010 Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray is set to drive the #77 Chevrolet, marking his first start since the 2019 Daytona 500 when he drove for the same team in their Cup Series debut behind the wheel of the #40 Chevrolet.

Putting a former champion of NASCAR’s biggest race, a driver who has earned a majority of his victories in superspeedway races, in your corner could be big for this team.

“That guy’s got a Harley J. Earl trophy,” LaJoie stated. “He’s got the big one that everybody wants. There’s a lot of layers to what Jamie Mac can bring. One being on the Fox side for the past couple of years. Anytime you can get people in your corner from the media and are out there portraying the sport in a positive way can be good for us internally.

“On the track, the guy has got the job done several times. Won the 500, won the 400. In those competition meetings with Kurt [Busch], Ross, and Jamie, I’ll definitely be doing a lot more listening and talking in a couple of weeks.”

Next. Top 10 NASCAR drivers of all-time. dark

Could Corey LaJoie and Spire Motorsports pull off another upset at “The World Center of Racing”? Tune in to Fox at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 14 for the live broadcast of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500.