NASCAR driver likely to lose ride after just one year

Ty Dillon, Spire Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Ty Dillon, Spire Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

With Zane Smith joining the team and Carson Hocevar rumored to do the same, Ty Dillon is likely out at Spire Motorsports for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season.

NASCAR silly season heated up in a big way last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, with Trackhouse Racing Team having signed Front Row Motorsports Truck Series driver Zane Smith to a multi-year Cup Series deal that will begin with Smith being loaned out to Spire Motorsports in 2024.

The Justin Marks and Pitbull-owned team simply don’t have room for the 24-year-old Huntington Beach, California native yet, having re-signed both Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez and also added Shane van Gisbergen, but they could not let the opportunity to sign one of NASCAR’s top young prospects pass them by and thus risk him joining a rival team.

Spire Motorsports have purchased a charter from Live Fast Motorsports for roughly $40 million, with the latter set to scale back and run an open car on a limited basis beginning in 2024 after spending three seasons competing full-time.

Spire Motorsports recently signed Corey LaJoie to a multi-year contract extension, meaning that the addition of a charter leaves them with one seat to fill.

But the driver currently in that seat, Ty Dillon, likely won’t be the one to fill it in the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Dillon is in his first season driving the No. 77 Chevrolet after losing his ride with Petty GMS Motorsports (now Legacy Motor Club) after the 2022 season, and it will likely be his only season with the team.

Spire Motorsports are by no means a top-tier team, but Dillon has simply been outclassed by LaJoie on a regular basis. Keeping him around for another season simply wouldn’t help the team as they make strides toward the middle and ultimately the front of the pack, especially amid an expansion and the addition of two highly touted young drivers.

Dillon has four top 20 finishes compared to LaJoie’s 14, and he sits last in the point standings among full-time drivers. LaJoie has nearly doubled his point total and sits seven positions ahead of him in 25th place.

Who will that second young driver be? The obvious answer is Truck Series driver Carson Hocevar, who has impressed the garage in his three starts at Legacy Motor Club as Noah Gragson’s replacement behind the wheel of the No. 42 Chevrolet over the last few weeks.

The three-time Truck Series race winner and championship contender consistently ran inside the top 10 at Bristol Motor Speedway, and he hasn’t finished lower than 20th place.

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Additionally, Hocevar made a substitute appearance for Spire Motorsports at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway back in June, when LaJoie filled in for the suspended Chase Elliott at Hendrick Motorsports. He has also competed in four Xfinity Series races for the team this year.