Spire Motorsports GEICO 500 Race Advance

  • In 16 NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) races at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Spire Motorsports has led five laps, logged one top-five and five top-15 finishes with seven different drivers. Corey LaJoie, driver of the No. 7 Gainbridge Chevy Camaro earned a team-best fourth-place finish last October in the Yellawood 500. The Mooresville, N.C., team fields the Nos. 7, 71 and 77 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1s in the NCS with LaJoie, and fellow drivers Zane Smith and Carson Hocevar, respectively.
  • The GEICO 500 from Talladega Superspeedway will be televised live on FOX Sunday, April 21, beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). The 10th of 36 races on the 2024 NCS schedule will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90. NASCAR RaceDay’s pre-race coverage on FOX will take the green flag at 2 p.m. EDT.

Corey LaJoie – Driver, No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

  • Corey LaJoie heads to Talladega Superspeedway behind the wheel of the No. 7 Gainbridge Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
  • Lajoie started 23rd and finished 22nd last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
  • Gainbridge Insurance Agency, LLC (“Gainbridge”), a Group 1001 company, is an insurtech which strives to offer products that are simple, intuitive, and backed by smart technology with no complexity or hidden fees. Gainbridge empowers consumers to take control of their financial future with solutions that are accessible to everyone no matter their budget or financial knowledge. Gainbridge’s digital-first distribution model underpins its mission to reach all communities, including those that have been historically underserved by the national financial system.
  • Sunday’s GEICO 500 will mark LaJoie’s 13th NCS start at Talladega Superspeedway and 246th career NCS start.
  • In 12 previous NCS starts at Talladega Superspeedway, LaJoie has logged one top-five, two top-10 and four top-15 finishes, The Concord, N.C. native recorded a 32.4 average start, a 20.3 average finish and completed 2,053 of 2,219 laps contested (92.5 percent).
  • Last October, LaJoie started 36th and raced his way to a fourth-place finish in the No. 7 Gainbridge Chevrolet Camaro.

Corey LaJoie Quotes
You’ve had Talladega circled on your calendar since last October. After a tough stretch of races, you’ve got to be eager to see the green flag on Sunday.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back in the Gainbridge Chevrolet this weekend. We’re looking to keep up the momentum we’ve had on superspeedways, so it’s time to shake that monkey off our backs and put together a solid finish like we all know our team is capable of.”

Zane Smith – Driver, No. 71 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

  • Zane Smith will make his 10th start of the 2024 NCS season Sunday driving the No. 71 Focused Health Chevrolet for Spire Motorsports on the high banks of Talladega Superspeedway.
  • Smith arrives at the 2.66-mile, Alabama track after Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway where he raced in the top five for more than 30 laps before a late-race accident left him with a 26th-place finish. He also finished fifth in Friday night’s NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series (NCTS) race at TMS.
  • Sunday will mark his second start at Talladega in a NCS race. In April 2023, driving the No. 38, he finished 35th after he was collected in a late-race accident. Smith owns four NCTS starts at Talladega.
  • For the seventh time in 2024, Focused Health will serve as the primary sponsor for Smith’s No. 71 Chevy Camaro. The blue and orange paint scheme represents a health insurance agency that assists consumers and employers in navigating the myriad of health insurance options in the government programs space.
  • Focused Health is a National Health Insurance agency founded by industry veterans with over 60 years combined industry experience. Primarily focused on the government programs space, Focused Health partners with payors and employers to deliver health insurance solutions for individuals and families. For more information visit AtFocusedHealth.com.
  • Smith will be a guest at Clint Bowyer’s “The Big Show on the Boulevard” on Friday at 8 p.m. CT.

Zane Smith Quotes
How do you feel after that great run at Texas Motor Speedway?
“I told my team that was the best car we’ve had all year. It’s a bummer that the result doesn’t match the day that we had. It felt great to run and compete in the top five for part of the race and it was just a solid day, in general. Unfortunately, we were on the other side of luck during that late restart. Overall, I’m super proud of my team. That was the boost we needed. I’m looking forward to Talladega.”

Carson Hocevar – Driver, No.77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

  • Sunday’s Geico 500 will mark Carson Hocevar’s second career NCS start at Talladega Superspeedway. Zeigler Automotive Group will serve as the primary sponsor aboard the No. 77 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
  • Hocevar secured his first career top-10 finish in NASCAR’s premier division last week at Texas Motor Speedway. After qualifying 16th, the 21-year-old racer worked his way through the field to bring home Spire Motorsports first top-10 NCS finish on a non-drafting oval.
  • Zeigler Automotive Group is one of the largest privately-owned dealer groups in the U.S. with 84 franchises across 41 locations in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. Vehicle brands represented include all the domestic and the majority of the imported manufacturers. Founded in 1975, the organization employs over 2,500 people, ranking among the top one percent of automotive dealers in the nation with estimated annual sales of $2.2 billion for 2023. The family-owned and -operated company is well known for its commitment to both customer service and employee satisfaction. Zeigler is regularly recognized as one of the Best and Brightest Companies to Work for in the Nation, also earning similar accolades in Wisconsin, Chicago, and Michigan. Besides these prestigious accolades, Zeigler is also one of Glassdoor’s 100 Best Places to Work in the U.S. for 2024, and among Glassdoor’s top 10 U.S. companies for work-life balance.
  • In his lone NCS start at Talladega Superspeedway, Hocevar started 38th and finished 35th after an on-track incident ended his day on Lap 161.
  • In three NCTS starts at Talladega Superspeedway, Hocevar has logged a 5.3 average start and a 21.3 average finish. He led 17 laps and completed 91.5 percent of the laps contested.
  • Hocevar leads the NCS Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings and is currently 22nd in the division’s championship points. Over the course of the season’s first nine races, Hocevar has notched one top-10 and three top-15 finishes.
  • In the past seven races, Hocevar has earned an average finish of 19 and completed 2,240 of 2,245 laps (99.8 percent).
  • The Portage, Mich., driver logged four NCTS wins in 2023 and finished third in the series’ championship point standings.
  • Hocevar will also be a guest at Clint Bowyer’s “The Big Show on the Boulevard” on Friday at 8 p.m. CT.

Carson Hocevar Quotes
What is the key to a good day at Talladega?
“Of course, the thing is just surviving to the end. I felt like we did a good job with that in Texas and with the Duels at Daytona. Obviously, the Daytona 500 was a different story but I feel like we did everything we possibly could there. I am going try to be a good citizen and help people when I can and, hopefully, people will help me out when they can. We just want to be on the right end of it at the end of the race.”
How do you feel going into this week’s race after your first top-10 finish?
“I feel pretty good. I wish we could take advantage of the metric for qualifying and be able to qualify later, but Talladega is obviously a little different. I am excited to build on that finish and have some positive momentum, especially with Zeigler Auto Group coming on for their first full primary of the year.”

From the Top of the Box

Ryan Sparks – Crew Chief, No. 7 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

  • Ryan Sparks serves in a dual role as both Spire Motorsports competition director and crew chief for driver Corey LaJoie and the No. 7 Chevrolet Camaro in the NCS.
  • Sparks, a Winston-Salem, N.C., native, has been paired with LaJoie since 2020.
  • Combined, Sparks and LaJoie have earned four top-five and seven top-10 finishes, including a fourth-place finish in the 2024 Daytona 500.

Stephen Doran – Crew Chief, No. 71 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

  • Stephen Doran begins his first full season as a Cup Series crew chief leading Zane Smith and the No. 71 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet team during the 2024 season.
  • In 2006, Doran got his start in NASCAR at Petty Enterprises.
  • Prior to his arrival at Spire Motorsports, Doran worked at Stewart-Haas Racing as an engineer, most recently on the No. 4 car driven by Kevin Harvick.

Luke Lambert – Crew Chief, No. 77 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

  • Luke Lambert is the crew chief for Spire Motorsports’ No. 77 team with 2024 NCS Rookie of the Year candidate Carson Hocevar
  • The 2005 North Carolina State graduate has led the competition efforts for some of the sport’s most notable names including Jeff Burton, Ryan Newman, Elliott Sadler and Chris Buescher.
  • In 2014, Lambert led Newman to a berth in the Championship 4, and ultimately a runner-up finish in the NCS championship point standings.

About Spire Motorsports …
Spire Motorsports is a NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race team co-owned by long-time NASCAR industry executives Jeff Dickerson and Thaddeus “T.J.” Puchyr. In 2024, Spire Motorsports will campaign the Nos. 7, 71 and 77 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1s in the NASCAR Cup Series with drivers Corey LaJoie, Zane Smith and Carson Hocevar, respectively. The team will also field the Nos. 7, 71 and 77 Chevrolet Silverados full time in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. An all-star driver lineup will rotate throughout the 2024 season in the No. 7 Chevy. Rajah Caruth will drive the No. 71 entry and Chase Purdy rounds out the team’s fleet of Chevrolets in the No. 77.

Spire Motorsports earned its inaugural NASCAR Cup Series victory in its first full season of competition when Justin Haley took the checkered flag in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 7, 2019. Less than three years later, William Byron drove Spire Motorsports’ No. 7 Chevrolet Silverado to its inaugural NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series win on April 7, 2022, at Martinsville Speedway. The team’s most recent win came on March 1, 2024, when Rajah Caruth took the checkered flag in the Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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