With Corey LaJoie replacing Chase Elliott at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, another driver is set to get the chance to make his NASCAR Cup Series debut.
NASCAR announced on Tuesday that they had suspended Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott for this coming Sunday afternoon’s Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.
Elliott was deemed to have committed an act of retaliation when he intentionally hooked the No. 11 Toyota of Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin in the right rear in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Hendrick Motorsports called upon Corey LaJoie to replace Elliott behind the wheel of the No. 9 Chevrolet in Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter.
But LaJoie is the full-time driver of the No. 7 Chevrolet for Spire Motorsports, meaning that this decision left Spire Motorsports in the need of a replacement driver for the race as well.
They turned to Niece Motorsports NASCAR Truck Series driver Carson Hocevar.
Hocevar, who won the Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this year and sits in eighth place in the standings through 11 races, has also competed in the two most recent Xfinity Series races for Spire Motorsports.
He finished in sixth place at Darlington Raceway and eighth at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He had only made one career Xfinity Series start before these two events.
These two recent starts made him the perfect candidate to fill in for LaJoie at Spire Motorsports this weekend, and now he is set to make his Cup Series debut in Sunday’s race.
Hendrick Motorsports have applied for Elliott to receive a playoff waiver so that his missed start this weekend won’t affect his playoff eligibility if he manages to qualify, either on points or by winning a race or races. He sits in 29th place in the point standings after missing six starts earlier this year.
LaJoie, who sits in 20th place in the standings, could qualify for the playoffs with a win on Sunday, even though he won’t be driving his usual car.
The Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter is scheduled for Sunday, June 4, and it is set to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 from World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET. Start a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss it!