Story By: DREW BROWN / TRACKHOUSE RACING – CONCORD, NC – Zane Smith is in the House. Trackhouse Racing has announced a multi-year driving agreement with the 2022 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion and its aim to operate three full-time NASCAR Cup Series entries in 2025.
Smith will officially join Trackhouse in January of 2024, teaming with a talented stable of Trackhouse drivers which includes 2022 NASCAR Cup Series championship runner-up Ross Chastain, the only foreign-born touring series champion in NASCAR history, Daniel Suárez, and Shane van Gisbergen, the New Zealander who shocked the NASCAR world in July by winning his Cup Series debut at the Chicago Street Course.
In 2024, Smith will race full time in the NASCAR Cup Series, driving a Chevrolet for Spire Motorsports in an alliance with Trackhouse.
“Expansion is not something to be taken lightly, but we feel Trackhouse is commercially and technically positioned for growth,” said Trackhouse founder and owner Justin Marks. “You need good timing, very good partners and great drivers. Adding Zane is like signing the No. 1 draft pick and we are proud that he is now a member of the Trackhouse family.”
Smith is a nine-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series winner completing his fourth full-time season this year. He has also run seven Cup Series races in the last two seasons highlighted by a 10th-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May.
“This is an incredible moment for me,” said Smith. “Trackhouse is one of the most progressive organizations in the garage. I told some friends a year ago that I wanted to be a part of what Trackhouse is doing and I just can’t believe this is all coming true. I am very excited and thankful to have a future with the organization.
“The Cup series is the pinnacle of racing in America, and I cannot wait to compete, learn and hone my skills against the best in the world. I am really looking forward to working with the Spire Motorsports team in 2024 and believe the alliance with Trackhouse will help continue Spire’s ascent up the grid.”
The Huntington Beach, California native began racing go-karts in 2004 and won championships five consecutive years before moving to legends car racing and super late models. He recorded victories in the World Series of Asphalt, Pro All Stars Series and the CARS Tour, as well as garnering a runner-up finish in the Snowball Derby.
He moved to ARCA racing winning four races and finishing second in the standings in 2018. He ran 10 Xfinity Series races in 2019 scoring two top-five finishes and moved to the truck series fulltime finishing second in the standings in 2020 and 2021.
He won the 2022 title and is still in the truck series playoffs as he seeks a second consecutive championship.
Spire Motorsports was founded in 2018 by long-time NASCAR industry executives Jeff Dickerson and Thaddeus “T.J.” Puchyr. The team currently fields two full-time NASCAR Cup Series teams with drivers Corey LaJoie and Ty Dillon and fields select entries in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series competition.
The team earned its inaugural NASCAR Cup Series victory in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 7, 2019. Less than three years later, William Byron drove Spire Motorsports’ No. 7 Chevrolet Silverado to its inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win on April 7, 2022, at Martinsville Speedway. The team’s most recent win came on May 20, 2023 when Kyle Larson took the checkered flag in the Tyson 250 at North Wilkesboro Speedway.
“Spire Motorsports will acquire a NASCAR charter from Live Fast Motorsports prior to the 2024 season and we’re thrilled to offer our support to Trackhouse Racing, a key member of the Chevrolet family,” said Spire Motorsports co-owner Jeff Dickerson. “Spire has a longstanding relationship with Justin Marks and we are proud of everything he and all the men and women at Trackhouse have accomplished in a relatively short time.
“This cooperative agreement is also proof-positive of the hard work of everyone at Spire Motorsports. We certainly wouldn’t be in this position without Mr. Hendrick and the competition group at Hendrick Motorsports so we continue to be grateful for that relationship. T.J. and I are also grateful to B.J. McLeod and Matt Tifft for working with us on the charter acquisition. We’re looking at a watershed moment for our organization that further demonstrates our commitment to the sport.”
Smith joins a Trackhouse Racing team that began when Marks retired from a fulltime driving career in NASCAR and sports car racing to create Trackhouse Entertainment Group in 2020 with the goal of creating a racing brand that transcends the sport.
Marks formed Trackhouse Racing that took to the track in 2021 with Suárez behind the wheel. In January 2021, the team announced a partnership with international superstar entertainer Pitbull who has been a frequent guest at NASCAR races and elevated Trackhouse’s presence through inclusion in several of his songs, music videos and named his upcoming album “Trackhouse.”
Midway through the 2021 season, Trackhouse Racing bought the NASCAR assets of Chip Ganassi Racing and began the 2022 season as its own two-car team with Suárez and Chastain as drivers. Chastain gave the organization its first victory at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on March 27 and won again at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on April 24. Suárez became the first Mexican (Monterrey) driver to win a Cup race when he dominated the Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway race in June 20.
In 2023, Chastain won the Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway race on June 25 and van Gisbergen won the inaugural Chicago Street race on July 2 driving for Trackhouse’s PROJECT91 program Marks created to offer NASCAR opportunities to international driving stars. Trackhouse Entertainment Group operates out of Nashville, Tenn. while the race shop is in Concord, North Carolina