Another piece of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series puzzle is falling into place. StarCom Racing, the team behind the No. 00 Chevrolet Camaro, is selling its charter to Spire Motorsports, per a report by “Catchfence.”
Writer Chris Knight first reported the news late on Tuesday, Aug. 31. He cited sources close to the situation that said the sale already took place. When Knight reached out to both parties involved, he received responses stating that “there is nothing confirmed to report at this time.”
StarCom Racing currently fields the No. 00 in the Cup Series with Quin Houff as the full-time driver. The team currently has 124 points after 26 races, well behind the rest of the chartered teams, as well as the unchartered No. 37 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet Camaro and the part-time No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet Camaro.
StarCom Racing first competed full-time in the Cup Series during the 2018 season with a rotating cast of drivers. Jeffrey Earnhardt, Landon Cassill, Joey Gase, and Tomy Drissi all made starts in 2018. Cassill then took over full-time for the 2019 season before giving up the seat in 2020 to Houff.
Spire Will Hold 3 Charters Until the Season Ends
The reported buyer of the StarCom Racing charter is not one of the many teams fighting for guaranteed starts in the Cup Series. Spire currently has three charters, including one leased to Trackhouse Racing for the 2021 season. However, the situation will change after the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race at Phoenix on Nov. 7.
Prior to the Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway on June 20, Kaulig Racing announced the purchase of two charters from Spire Motorsports. Team owner Matt Kaulig and team president Chris Rice held a press conference to confirm that Justin Haley will move to the Cup Series full-time in 2022 while AJ Allmendinger will make limited starts in the other Cup car.
Spire will keep one of its charters, most likely the one for Corey LaJoie’s No. 7 Chevrolet Camaro. The reported purchase of the StarCom Racing charter will then open up a path for the team to continue fielding two cars each week.
Questions Remain About the Second Driver
While there are 10 races remaining in the 2021 Cup Series season, there are currently questions about the driver lineup for Spire Motorsports. Haley will stop making Cup starts for Spire while taking over the Kaulig car, so another driver — or group of drivers — will have to step in and replace him.
One seat will maintain the status quo entering 2022. LaJoie will be back with the No. 7 team for another year after agreeing to a contract in December 2020. This multi-year deal ensured that he would be part of Spire for 2021 and 2022. According to “Racing News,” it also includes a third-year option that Spire can activate.
Prior to the 2021 season, Spire Motorsports used a rotating cast of drivers in the No. 77 Chevrolet. This trend continued in a sense with Justin Allgaier, Ben Rhodes, Jamie McMurray, and Stewart Friesen all making starts. Though Haley served as the main option for the team with 21 starts to his name.
Spire could continue to use its second car as a way to get younger drivers more experience. However, there are several drivers seeking full-time rides in 2022. Ryan Newman and Matt DiBenedetto are both options. Similarly, Preece or Ricky Stenhouse Jr. could be on the move as well with JTG Daugherty moving down to one car in 2022.