Race Weekend Central

Michael McDowell Moving to Spire in 2025

Michael McDowell wasn’t without a ride for 2025 for long — he’ll drive the No. 71 for Spire Motorsports in the NASCAR Cup Series beginning in 2025, Spire announced May 8.

The news follows McDowell’s announcement earlier May 8 that he is departing Front Row Motorsports after this season.

McDowell’s deal with Spire is for multiple years, though the exact length was not announced.

“This is a new chapter for my family and me, and we’re incredibly thankful for the opportunity that’s in front of us,” McDowell said in a team release. “It’s going to take some hard work, but I feel like everything is in place for us to be successful as a race team — to win races and contend for championships. People are the greatest asset to any organization, and with Spire’s vision, ambition, knowledge, and dedication, we will achieve great things. Failure is not an option, and that’s the mindset that it will take to achieve our goals.”

See also
Michael McDowell Departing FRM After 2024

McDowell replaces Zane Smith, who’s currently the driver of the No. 71 while on loan from Trackhouse Racing.

“Michael McDowell is a proven winner and brings a NASCAR Playoff pedigree,” Spire president Doug Duchardt added. “Michael has always been committed to elevate his teams. His experience and enthusiasm are a perfect fit for Spire Motorsports, and we are sure he will be a great teammate to both Corey LaJoie and Carson Hocevar. We’re thrilled to keep up the positive momentum by adding someone as accomplished as Michael to our driver lineup. 

“Our 2024 plan for the No. 71 team remains unchanged. Spire Motorsports fully supports Zane Smith and Stephan Doran [crew chief]. We remain committed to the success of our collaboration with Trackhouse. That team is just beginning to realize its potential. We’re looking forward to seeing how the Rookie of the Year battle plays out between Zane and Carson.” 

McDowell has three top 10s with FRM so far in 2024, plus two poles. He has been with the team since 2018.

Smith’s plans for 2025 have not yet been announced. Corey LaJoie and Carson Hocevar are currently signed with Spire through at least 2025.

About the author

Rutherford is the managing editor of Frontstretch, a position he gained in 2015 after serving on the editing staff for two years. At his day job, he's a journalist covering music and rock charts at Billboard. He lives in New York City, but his heart is in Ohio -- you know, like that Hawthorne Heights song.

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old fan

Bummed out that they’re letting Zane Smith go. Would have rather seen them dump LaJoie.

Daytona-520

They’re not letting Zane go, Zane is signed to Trackhouse and is on loan from them. Trackhouse probably decided they want him back.

Echo

I agree. Zane Smith has a ton of potential and is a racer. Someone will scoop him up.

Bill B

So I don’t see this as a move up, more of a lateral move.
I would guess this is a situation where money talks but without more information, who knows?

Charlie

I think it might be the first time McDowell won’t have to be in a one year contract. Every year with Front Row he’s had to be a free agent the next hear. So if the money is even comparable, he’s probably looking at giving them 2 or 3 years and retiring.

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