The trip to World Wide Technology Raceway will feature a new addition to the entry list. Carson Hocevar will make his NASCAR Cup Series debut at Hocevar the 1.250-mile track outside of St. Louis while the Cup Series teams play “Motorsports Musical Chairs.”
Chase Elliott will serve a one-race suspension for intentionally hooking Denny Hamlin into the outside wall at Charlotte Motor Speedway, so Corey LaJoie will move from Spire Motorsports to Hendrick Motorsports for the event. Hocevar will then replace LaJoie in the No. 7 Spire Chevrolet Camaro for his own Cup Series debut.
“It’s super special to have my name in a hat, let alone to have the conversations and especially have the conversations with Spire,” Hocevar told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on May 30. “The relationship they have with Hendrick, and I think it’s great for Corey and Spire as well as I get to fulfill a childhood dream and go run laps and be a part of the show on Sunday.”
Hocevar Has Previous Experience at World Wide Technology Raceway
While Hocevar has never made a start in the Cup Series, he does have previous experience at World Wide Technology Raceway. He has seen firsthand how drastically different the two ends of the track are from each other, so he will be better prepared to approach that challenge.
Hocevar has made three Craftsman Truck Series starts at WWT Raceway in his career. He finished 15th in his debut in 2020 and then he finished eighth during the 2021 season. Though he crashed in 2022 after securing bonus points in Stage 2.
This crash resulted in Hocevar suffering a broken tibia. He had to have a screw put in his ankle, and he had to spend several weeks on crutches while still continuing to compete in Truck Series races.
There is still a massive learning curve for Hocevar as he takes over a Cup Series car for the first time. He will only have 20 minutes to gain experience during a practice session on Saturday, June 3 (10 a.m. ET, FS1). He will then immediately go into qualifying at 10:45 a.m. ET (FS1).
1 Big Decision Made This Debut Possible
This situation is unique. LaJoie is a full-time driver for Spire Motorsports, so he isn’t bouncing between teams while running a part-time schedule.
However, he was able to make the one-off start for Hendrick Motorsports after Spire Motorsports agreed to lend a hand to the winningest organization in NASCAR, one with that it has a relationship.
This decision to help Hendrick Motorsports led to Spire Motorsports turning to Hocevar. The Michigan native drives for Niece Motorsports in the Truck Series, but he also signed with Spire for a limited Xfinity Series schedule.
Hocevar’s first start with Spire Motorsports took place at Darlington Raceway as he finished sixth overall. He returned for an eighth-place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Hocevar’s remaining Xfinity Series schedule includes Nashville Superspeedway on June 24, Michigan International Speedway on August 5, Darlington Raceway on September 2, and Bristol Motor Speedway on September 15.
“We’re always happy to help our friends at Hendrick Motorsports and couldn’t be prouder to see Corey LaJoie get the opportunity of a lifetime to race a Hendrick Motorsports’ Chevrolet,” said Spire Motorsports co-owner Jeff Dickerson in a statement. “When we were approached by HMS, it was really an easy answer.
“Our entire organization and the whole team at Schluter Systems are on board and thrilled to see Corey realize an incredible opportunity. At the same time, we’re eager to see Carson Hocevar get behind the wheel of the No. 7 Schluter Systems Chevy Camaro.
“Carson has proven to be more than capable and he’s done a great job in our No. 77 Premier Security Chevrolet in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. This is a win for everyone involved.”