Corey LaJoie’s Future at Spire Appears to Be Heading toward an End After Dead Last Finish at Richmond


While Corey LaJoie showed hints of a resurgence last season with a couple of top fives and top tens, that story hasn’t transitioned to the first few races of the 2024 season. Despite starting the season with a top five at Daytona and a top 15 at Atlanta, LaJoie has finished well above 20th in all other races. For a driver hoping to make it into the playoffs this year, it certainly isn’t the best look. Fast-forward to this weekend’s race at Richmond, and LaJoie wouldn’t make it past the top 30 once again. After accounting for all the doubts LaJoie displayed earlier about Spire Motorsports’ management decisions, could there perhaps be some friction between the team and the #7 Chevy driver?
Corey LaJoie finishes at P36 behind his rookie teammates
For Corey LaJoie, 2024 is truly a make-or-break season. After all, it has been over 8 years and nearly 240 races that Corey LaJoie has still not visited Victory Lane with the team that gave him his big break. With that said, the 2024 season seemed to bring with it a ray of new hope. Spire Motorsports slowly began ramping up their presence in NASCAR over the past two years. After purchasing a charter from Live Fast Motorsports, the team might have been expecting their drivers to bring in solid results as a valid return on their investment.
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However, the pressure of performing isn’t on Carson Hocevar and Zane Smith, both rookies, as much as it is on their experienced teammate LaJoie. Even though LaJoie has never won a single race in any of the three premier NASCAR series, he finds himself as the lead driver for a hungry organization. One that cannot afford to have their star driver finish last at Richmond, that too, even behind his inexperienced teammates!
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Throughout the Toyota Owners 400, Corey LaJoie was nowhere to be found in the top 25, let alone the top 15. As the race unfolded, his teammates tried their best to enter the top 20, while the veteran was still struggling with moving up from P33. Eventually, the race ended with misery for all Spire Motorsport drivers. While LaJoie finished P36, Zane Smith was right ahead of him. Among the trio, Hocevar had the best finish of P27.
Naturally, this puts Corey LaJoie’s position as a ‘mentor’ for the young Spire talent into question, according to many. If Zane Smith and Carson Hocevar can beat LaJoie throughout an entire race consistently, is it perhaps time to bring in bigger guns?
With that said, it is also worth noting that Spire Motorsports might be pulling some strings behind the scenes, which was evident when the team announcement its latest part-time.
Could Sammy Smith’s stint with Spire in the Truck Series spell further trouble for LaJoie?
Whilst Spire Motorsports may be falling short with the Cup Series venture, their Truck Series campaign couldn’t possibly deliver more action for the team. Or so we thought. Only a few days ago, Spire Motorsports revealed that they would be taking on Dale Earnhardt Jr’s full-time JRM Xfinity driver, Sammy Smith, for a four-race adventure in the Truck Series this season. The 19-year-old will take command of the #7 Chevy Silverado for the races at Martinsville, North Wilkesboro, Indianapolis Raceway Park, and the Milwaukee Mile.
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Despite competing for JRM in the Xfinity Series, his stint with Spire Motorsports could indeed lead to a Cup appearance if things go well. With that said, the President of Spire Motorsports, Doug Duchardt, stated: “Sammy Smith is a versatile talent who is a great addition to our all-star driver lineup for Spire Motorsports’ No. 7 Chevy Silverado. He’s a remarkably talented short-track racer who has already won at the Milwaukee Mile and North Wilkesboro, so he’s a perfect fit for this four-race schedule.”
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Naturally, Spire Motorsports is excited to see what an experienced winner can bring to the table. After accounting for LaJoie’s lack of winning experience, it could ultimately work out against the current Spire Motorsports veteran driver.


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