GettyImages 1433927590 1 e1666096562381

Spire Motorsports announced a two-driver lineup of Corey LaJoie and Ty Dillon for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.

LaJoie, 31, will return for his third consecutive season with the team. He is ranked 31st in the points standings and finished a career-best fifth in the March 20 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

He also led a career-best 19 laps in his No. 7 Chevrolet during the July 10 race at Atlanta before crashing in a battle with Chase Elliott for the victory on the final restart.

This will be the fifth consecutive season in NASCAR’s premier series for LaJoie, who has five top 10s in 197 career Cup starts. Ryan Sparks will remain the crew chief for LaJoie and also has been promoted to the team’s director of competition. Sparks and LaJoie joined Spire as a duo after being paired at GoFas Racing in 2020.

“With another year under our belts and a notebook on the new car, I know we can have a solid season and get that first win,” LaJoie said in a release. “It’s cool my buddy Ty is joining us as well. It will be nice to have a full-time teammate in the No. 77.”

Dillon, 30, will join Spire Motorsports after spending the 2022 season in the No. 42 Chevrolet of Petty GMS Racing. He is ranked 29th in the points standings with a season-best finish of 10th in the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt race.

The 2023 season will be Dillon’s sixth full time on the Cup circuit. He ran for Germain Racing from 2017-20 with a career-best finish of third in the Oct. 4, 2020 race at Talladega Superspeedway. Kevin Bellicourt, who has been the crew chief for Spire’s No. 77 the past two seasons, will be Dillon’s crew chief.

In 199 Cup starts, Dillon has two top fives and seven top 10s. He has finished a career-best 24th in the points twice (2017, ’19). Dillon also has three victories in the Camping World Truck Series (where he finished second in the 2013 standings). He won the July 26, 2014 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a rookie in the Xfinity Series, where he finished in the top five of the standings in three consecutive seasons.

“I’m thankful for this opportunity, a new beginning with a very hungry team that is excited for the future,” Dillon said in a release. “Spire Motorsports has been growing year after year when you look at the way that Corey and the No. 7 team has developed to be competitive. The organization is heading in the right direction and I’m excited to be a part of bringing the No. 77 up to where Corey has been running. Hopefully we raise the whole level of competition together.”

Spire Motorsports will have two full-time drivers for the first time in its history. The team started with the 2019 Cup Series season with eight drivers splitting time in the No. 77 Chevrolet. Justin Haley delivered the team its first victory in a rain-shortened race July 7, 2019 at Daytona International Speedway.

LaJoie became its first full-time driver last season, and the team expanded to a second full-time car in 2022 that has been shared by four drivers.

“There’s little doubt that we raised some eyebrows when we entered the sport as race team owners,” Spire Motorsports co-owner Jeff Dickerson said in a release. “We knew that we needed to learn how to crawl before we attempted to walk and eventually run. We’ve been quite fortunate to build a strong foundation for Spire Motorsports over the past several years. That’s a testament to the people of Spire Motorsports, and Corey LaJoie, Ryan Sparks and Kevin Bellicourt have been the bedrock of this organization.

“The next step in our progression is to add an equally capable full-time driver for the No. 77 team and we’ve found just that individual in Ty Dillon. Clearly, the path that (fellow Spire Motorsports co-owner T.J. Puchyr) and I have taken to be here today has been atypical. We have great respect for our contemporaries in the sport, and we are humbled to be among them. Collectively, we’ve been fortunate to serve a lot of functions and roles in racing over the past 20 years.  That allows us to have a great appreciation and perspective of what it takes to be successful in this super-competitive environment. We’re very proud of what every member of the organization has helped us build.”



Source link