At this time we’re taking a look at Spire Motorsports, as we proceed NASCAR.com‘s countdown of group previews for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Collection season, beginning with new chartered groups then ranked in reverse order of finest end in final yr‘s proprietor standings.
Engine: ECR Engines
Driver-crew chief pairings: Corey LaJoie-Ryan Sparks (No. 7); A number of drivers (Jamie McMurray amongst them)-Kevin Bellicourt (No. 77)
What’s new: Nicely, lots. LaJoie makes the shift over to Chevrolet and Spire after a pair of full-time seasons with the Ford-backed Go Fas Racing, and the group itself is increasing to a two-car enterprise. Each crew chiefs are new to the outlet, with Sparks shifting over from Go Fas together with LaJoie. Former Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray additionally returns to the fold for the Nice American Race after operating it for Spire in 2019 and taking final yr off. The group additionally added former Hendrick Motorsports crew chief and present NASCAR on NBC broadcaster Steve Letarte in a consulting function.
Group outlook: It’s powerful to say, to be trustworthy. This is a company that — sort of miraculously — already has a Cup Collection win to its credit score, however hasn’t almost scratched the floor of what it’s attempting to perform within the sport. Nonetheless in its relative infancy after debuting on the ’19 Daytona 500 with McMurray, the subsidiary of Spire Sports activities + Leisure administration company is a group seeking to plant its roots and develop for the long run. That mentioned, it’s clear Spire has huge aspirations and seems to be methodically placing the right items in place to turn into a powerhouse down the road, however a win this yr is definitely not an impossibility. The hiring of Letarte was additionally an extremely fascinating and maybe an underrated personnel transfer that would pay dividends as quickly as this yr.
Racing Insights’ stats break: Spire strikes from one group to 2 groups in 2021, including LaJoie — who involves Daytona with top-10 finishes in two of the final three races there. The group discovered success in 2019 by successful at Daytona within the Coke Zero 400 with Justin Haley and hopes to proceed to enhance because of its additions in addition to consulting work from veteran crew chief Steve Letarte.
Corey LaJoie, No. 7 Chevrolet
Expertise: Third full season in NASCAR Cup Collection
2020 stats: 30th in remaining standings; zero wins, zero high fives, 1 high 10
2020 remaining Fantasy Stay rating: 30th
2021 championship odds: 1,000-1
Outlook: Working for lesser-funded organizations LaJoie’s stats traditionally haven’t been eye-popping, however final winter he emerged as a darkish horse candidate to slip into the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet vacated by Jimmie Johnson and finally crammed internally by Alex Bowman. Although the dominoes fell a unique means, it nonetheless speaks volumes about LaJoie’s repute throughout the storage and amongst his friends on the observe that he was an possibility — longshot or not — to switch a seven-time champion. After securing only one high 10 and three whole in his two years at Go Fas, there’s nowhere to go however up for the 29-year-old. Although he possible once more received’t wow you together with his ending place most weekends, anticipate the trajectory of LaJoie and Spire as an entire to proceed to rise, possibly even sooner than some are projecting.
Varied drivers, No. 77 Chevrolet
Outlook: As of this writing Spire has solely introduced McMurray’s Daytona 500 begin when it comes to drivers to pilot this trip, although it’s anticipated that Haley will return for a number of races on high of his full Xfinity Collection slate for Kaulig Racing. There possible shall be different drivers to be introduced at a later date. Bellicourt is an fascinating pull to place atop the pit field, having most not too long ago labored with upstart Tenting World Truck Collection driver Derek Kraus en path to an 11th-place end final season. One factor that does stand out on his resume, nevertheless: he guided a then-17-year-old William Byron to a four-win, championship marketing campaign within the NASCAR Okay&N Professional Collection East in 2015.
NASCAR.com 2021 group previews schedule
Jan. 18: 23XI Racing
Jan. 19: Trackhouse Racing Team
Jan. 20: Live Fast Motorsports
Jan. 21: Spire Motorsports
Jan. 22: JTG Daugherty Racing
Jan. 25: Entrance Row Motorsports
Jan. 26: Richard Petty Motorsports
Jan. 27: Roush Fenway Racing
Jan. 28: Wooden Brothers Racing
Jan. 29: Richard Childress Racing
Jan. 30: Non-chartered and groups exterior the highest 30
Feb. 1: Chip Ganassi Racing
Feb. 2: Stewart-Haas Racing
Feb. 3: Joe Gibbs Racing
Feb. 4: Group Penske
Feb. 5: Hendrick Motorsports