One of the NASCAR Cup Series teams will no longer compete full-time during the 2022 season. StarCom Racing has announced that a new team will take ownership of its charter after the season finale race at Phoenix on Sunday, November 7 (3 p.m. ET, NBC).
“It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our StarCom Racing fans. After the championship this weekend, our [No. 00] charter will take new ownership. Thank you so much to all our fans for the fun memories and loyal support over the years! [z00m],” the NASCAR team tweeted on Friday, November 5.
StarCom Racing did not reveal which team has purchased its charter for the 2022 season. According to FOX Sports reporter Bob Pockrass, the new owner is expected to be Spire Motorsports, the team that currently fields the No. 7 and No. 77 entries in the Cup Series.
NASCAR teams do not divulge financial details of charter sales, so there is no concrete information available about how much the unnamed team paid StarCom Racing. Though the Sports Business Journal reported on November 2 that the next charters sold would go for “at least $12 million.”
StarCom Racing Tested the Next Gen Amid Reports of a Sale
While StarCom Racing will not have a charter for the No. 00 in 2022, there is still a scenario in which the team competes on a limited basis. After all, the organization took part in a two-day Next Gen test session in early October with Kaz Grala as the driver.
Grala headed to the Charlotte Roval on October 11-12 for the largest Next Gen sessions to date. He took control of the No. 00 and completed a multitude of laps around the track, posting a best lap time of 1:23.292. He continued testing while Pockrass provided an explanation for why StarCom even took part.
“Amid questions of Grala testing a Next Gen car for StarCom … Still expecting StarCom to sell its charter to Spire … but obviously StarCom has infrastructure and if they can field a car, even part-time, with someone who can bring some sponsorship, wouldn’t rule it out,” Pockrass tweeted on October 8.
There will be four open spots in each race on the 2022 schedule, which will provide non-chartered teams with the opportunity to compete. StarCom could head to tracks such as Talladega Superspeedway or Daytona International Speedway and attempt to qualify their way in.
StarCom Racing Ends its Cup Tenure After 164 Total Races
The No. 00 team has not been a part of the NASCAR Cup Series for a massive amount of time. StarCom Racing has only been in existence since the 2017 season when the No. 00 ran a part-time schedule.
Derrike Cope took control of the stock car for its debut at Kansas Speedway on October 22, 2017, but he finished 40th overall due to mechanical issues. Cope returned to the No. 00 on November 12, 2017, for a race at Phoenix and finished 32nd.
Nine drivers have taken over the No. 00 and No. 99 — which now belongs to Trackhouse Racing — for races, with Landon Cassill and Quin Houff making the most starts. Cassill made 29 starts in 2018, split between both stock cars, before signing a full-time deal for 2019 and posting a season-best finish of 11th in the 2019 Coke Zero Sugar 400.
Houff took over the No. 00 as the full-time driver in 2020 and remained as the primary driver for the rest of StarCom’s tenure. He posted his best finishes at Talladega Superspeedway, placing 13th in the 2020 YellaWood 500 and 19th in the 2021 YellaWood 500. Houff will cap off the 2021 season with the November 7 race at Phoenix and will mark the end of an era.