NASCAR: Driver change confirmed for the rest of the playoffs

Carson Hocevar, Legacy Motor Club, NASCAR playoffs (Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images)
Carson Hocevar, Legacy Motor Club, NASCAR playoffs (Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images) /

As many had expected, Carson Hocevar is set to return to Legacy Motor Club for the final four races of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

Legacy Motor Club found themselves with an unexpectedly open seat back in early August, when rookie Noah Gragson was suspended indefinitely by both NASCAR and the team for “liking” an inappropriate social media meme.

Many expected him to be released anyway, either in the days after his suspension or at the end of the year, but Gragson requested to be released from the team in the ensuing days. While he has since been reinstated by NASCAR, he is no longer a member of Legacy Motor Club.

The team called upon JR Motorsports Xfinity Series driver Josh Berry to replace him behind the wheel of the No. 42 Chevrolet the weekend he was suspended at Michigan International Speedway, and then again for the regular season finale at Daytona International Speedway.

They called upon Mike Rockenfeller to replace him in the two races, both road course races, in between Berry’s events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Watkins Glen International.

Then to start the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, Niece Motorsports Truck Series driver Carson Hocevar drove the No. 42 Chevrolet in five races.

He earned four top 20 finishes in those five starts, doubling Gragson’s total from his 21 starts. Rockenfeller filled in again at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval this past weekend.

Legacy Motor Club have made the decision many expected them to by naming Hocevar as the driver of the No. 42 Chevrolet for the rest of the 2023 season.

He is set to compete in the races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, October 15; Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, October 22; Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, October 29; and Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, November 5.

Hocevar is expected to be named Spire Motorsports’ third full-time Cup Series driver for the 2024 season, presumably replacing Ty Dillon behind the wheel of the No. 77 Chevrolet.

The team recently announced a contract extension for Corey LaJoie to continue driving the No. 7 Chevrolet, and they purchased a third charter to run a third car for Zane Smith, who is set to be loaned out from Trackhouse Racing Team after signing a multi-year deal with the Justin Marks and Pitbull-owned team.

Next. All-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list. dark

As for the No. 42 car, which is set to become a Toyota next year, John Hunter Nemechek is set to be promoted from Joe Gibbs Racing’s Xfinity Series team to take over full-time. Erik Jones is set to reunite with Toyota and return in what is set to be his fourth year behind the wheel of the No. 43 car.