It’s been four full seasons since Spire Motorsports’ first foray into NASCAR Cup Series competition. There have been measures of success for the upstart operation in that time, from a race win at Daytona International Speedway by Justin Haley in 2019 to Corey LaJoie being expected to contend near the front at Daytona, Talladega Superspeedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway each year.
Short-term success is nice for any new team, but the key is to generate staying power within the sport’s top levels not just on the racetrack, but also within the financial ledger. NASCAR has seen teams come and go that have had great success only to not be able to sustain themselves. Furniture Row Racing may have won a title with Martin Truex Jr., but those wins alone did not enable that operation to stay with it in the long run.
Spire took a step to avoid that off-track fate in late September when it acquired the charter from Live Fast Motorsports for reportedly around $40 million.
That’s hardly chump change, but it was an investment that the braintrust at Spire Motorsports led by co-owners Jeff Dickerson and TJ Puchyr took full advantage of making to further secure Spire as a major player in NASCAR’s top division for years to come.
In the current charter system in the Cup Series, having one of said charters might as well be a golden ticket. Establishing yourself among other teams starts with being out there every week.
So what does that mean for Spire? An additional anchor in the series to allow it to expand to three cars that’ll be locked into each race. LaJoie will have not one, but two more teammates in 2024 in rookies Carson Hocevar and Zane Smith, the latter with the team via an alliance with Trackhouse Racing.
It’s simple for Spire, really. To grow, you need sponsors. And a surefire way to interest new partners is a guarantee to be in every race. Spire will have that in its added charter. And the asking price was an offer to which Live Fast could not say no.
Remember when this current generation of car crept into the sport? One hope was that it’d level the playing field, perhaps giving start-up teams outside the Hendrick Motorsportses or Team Penskes of the world a more viable chance, giving them a bit more than a switchblade for a gunfight.
Live Fast ended up being an example of that hope not panning out, stringing together a single top-10 finish in the past two years. Therein lied the dilemma: to languish each week or cash in with a big payday? Co-owner BJ McLeod chose the latter.
That does not mean Live Fast is going away. A race team can find many ways to use around $40 million. Expect it to do that as it takes a swing at running part-time races, with the superspeedway events confirmed starts so far.
Oh, and it also helps Spire moving ahead, too. Gainbridge joined the team during the 2023 season on a multi-year basis. Any time someone signs on for multiple seasons, it means that someone believes in what is being accomplished for the now and future. It’s part of the reason why when LaJoie had other options on where to drive, staying put made a lot of sense.
Even outside Cup, Spire is throwing a large hat in the ring. Winners twice in the 22 races in which it has fielded entries in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, it’s going for a bigger piece of the lower-series pie after the latter part of the 2023 season included the purchase of Kyle Busch Motorsports, the KBM shop and Rowdy Manufacturing.
Spire has big goals for the future, and September’s move positioned it in a better spot to move toward them than ever before. All that’s left now is to see if its investments pay off.
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