Motorsport News

The House Is Getting (Too) Full for 2025

#71: Zane Smith, Spire Motorsports, WeatherTech Chevrolet Camaro

Any preconceived expectations for what the 2025 silly season may look like were likely thrown out the window when it was announced that Michael McDowell will leave Front Row Motorsports for Spire Motorsports after the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season.

McDowell will drive the No. 71, which is currently occupied by rookie Zane Smith. This leaves Smith without a Cup ride for 2025.

At least, if things stay the way they are now.

Smith signed with Trackhouse Racing beginning in 2024 after several years in the Craftsman Truck Series. However, Trackhouse’s two full-time rides were already occupied, and it did not have a third charter. So the team partnered with Spire, who had just bought the charter of Live Fast Motorsports, to field the No. 71 for Smith.

But the No. 71 is still a Spire car, just with Trackhouse assistance as long as Smith is in the car — which will only be until the end of the season.

Trackhouse still doesn’t have a third charter, so Smith is left in no man’s land at the moment. While rumors persist that Stewart-Haas Racing will sell at least one of its charters at season’s end, there’s no guarantee that Trackhouse will be the highest bidder.

But Smith isn’t the only driver Trackhouse has to deal with for 2025. Shane van Gisbergen was also signed to a development deal with Trackhouse following his breakthrough win at the Chicago street course. What was supposed to be scattered starts throughout all three of NASCAR’s premier series in 2024 turned into a full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series campaign and part-time Cup seat with Kaulig Racing.

Much like the Smith/Spire deal, Trackhouse partnered with Kaulig to put van Gisbergen in a full-time Xfinity car for 2024. Again, it’s a Kaulig car, but with Trackhouse support as long as the Kiwi is in the car.

The problem is, it’s hard to imagine van Gisbergen staying in the Xfinity Series after this season. He is getting a much-needed learning session this season as he travels to many racetracks he’s never seen before, let alone raced at. And he probably didn’t leave the Repco Supercars Championship and fly all the way to the United States just to go Xfinity racing. A Cup ride is 100% in the future for him.

It’s not far-fetched to say van Gisbergen has priority over Smith for a Cup ride. He is 35 years old; his window of opportunity for a full-time Cup seat is much smaller than that of the soon-to-be 25-year-old Smith. If you do the math, that leaves…

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