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Spire Motorsports Long John Silvers 200 Race Advance – Speedway Digest

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In the team’s lone NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series (NCTS) start at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, William Byron drove Spire Motorsports’ No. 7 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Silverado to Victory Lane. Byron started 32nd in the 2022 Blue Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200, led 94 of the race’s 200 laps and went on to earn the Mooresville, N.C. organization’s first checkered flag in NCTS competition. Spire Motorsports fields the Nos. 7, 71 and 77 Chevrolet Silverados full time in the NCTS. An all-star driver lineup will rotate throughout the 2024 season in the No. 7 Chevy. Rajah Caruth will drive the No. 71 entry and Chase Purdy rounds out the team’s fleet of Chevrolets in the No. 77.
The Long John Silver’s 200 from Martinsville Speedway will be televised live on FS1 Friday April 5, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The sixth of 23 NCTS races on the 2024 schedule will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

Sammy Smith – Driver, No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado

Sammy Smith will steer Spire Motorsports’ No. 7 Chevrolet in Friday night’s Long John Silver’s 200 at Martinsville Speedway in his first of four NCTS starts this season. Smith’s lone NCTS start of his career came in last year’s season opener at Daytona International Speedway where he started 20th and raced his way to a respectable 14th-place finish.
Smith, 19, is the full-time driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) and will be pulling double duty this weekend. He has logged four top-10 finishes in six races and earned a season-best eighth-place effort at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Johnston, Iowa native has three previous NXS starts at the legendary Virginia speedway where he finished second and third, respectively last season.
In addition to Friday night’s 200-lap Martinsville tilt, Smith will be in the cockpit of the No. 7 Chevy Silverado May 18 at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway, July 19 at Indianapolis Raceway Park and August 25 at the Milwaukee Mile.
TMC Transportation will serve as Smith’s primary sponsor on Friday night. TMC Transportation, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022 and is the nation’s largest employee-owned open deck transportation company. TMC provides expert transportation services and supply-chain management solutions throughout the 48 contiguous states. Founded in 1972, TMC is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, and is known for its integrity, innovation, superior safety record, and dedication to quality and customer service. The company’s claim-free, on-time delivery record is the best in the business and is consistently recognized by its customers. For more information about TMC Transportation, please log on to tmctrans.com.
Smith is a six-time ARCA Menards Series national tour race winner, who has won eight times in the ARCA Menards Series East and once in the ARCA Menards Series West. The talented teenager earned a CARS Pro Late Model Tour victory in 2021 at Jennerstown (Pa.) Speedway and four pavement super late model wins that same season. A year later, he picked up another super late model victory in a combination ARCA CRA Super Series/Southern Super Series race at North Wilkesboro. He has also earned wins in some of the United States’ most notable late model races including the Winchester 400, Red Bud 400 and Florida Governor’s Cup.
After five races, the No. 7 team ranks second in the 2024 NCTS owner point standings. The team sits eight points behind the series-leading No. 11 team. The No. 7 team has complied an average starting position of 3.8 and an average finish of 8.4 while leading 156 laps this season. Kyle Busch led a race-high 33 laps en route to the team’s victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway in February. Most recently, 17-year-old Connor Zilisch captured the pole and finished fourth in his NCTS debut at Circuit of the Americas.

Sammy Smith quotes
Talk about the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the No. 7 Silverado for four races this year.
“I am very excited for the opportunity Spire has given me to get behind the wheel of the No. 7 Silverado for these four races and am grateful to TMC, Pilot Flying J and Golden Harvest for coming on board and doing it “Anytime you can get extra seat time, that's always helpful, especially now with the new format in NASCAR where there's not a lot of practice time available every week. Obviously Spire has top-notch equipment and the goal is to win all four races.”
How did you prepare for your first NCTS start at Spire?
“Since I don't have a lot of experience with Truck Series, I went around the shop and asked Brian (Pattie, crew chief) and the guys a lot of questions and got familiar with the setup of the trucks. Martinsville is a track I've had a lot of success at, so I feel good about it. I know they will bring me a fast TMC Transportation Silverado, it will just be my job to go out and execute all day.”
How will racing the truck at Martinsville be different than what you experienced there with the Xfinity cars and Late Model Stocks?
“I don’t really know what to expect other than I think it will definitely be a lot different than driving an XFINITY car there. I think with the Ilmor engines and similar downforce it will feel a lot like an ARCA car, a series I've had a lot of success in but have never raced in at Martinsville. But yeah, I’m looking forward to getting in the No. 7 truck this weekend and then three more this season.”
Rajah Caruth – Driver, No. 71 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado

Rajah Caruth will pilot Spire Motorsports’ No. 71 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Silverado in Friday night’s Long John Silver’s 200 at Martinsville Speedway.
Caruth started 11th and finished 15th in the division’s most recent stop at Circuit of the Americas.  
HendrickCars.com is the online home for everything Hendrick Automotive Group. Visitors can shop thousands of new or pre-owned vehicles, locate centers for service and collision repair, receive a value to sell or trade their car, chat online with customer service, discover career opportunities, learn more about vehicle protections programs, and explore how the company gives back to the community.
Caruth started 16th and finished 25th in last season’s annual NCTS stop in Martinsville.
In two previous NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Martinsville Speedway, Caruth has earned two top-15s, completed 525 of 525 laps and logged a 12th-place average finish.
With his first career NCTS win and pole position earlier this season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Caruth became the third African American driver, alongside NASCAR Hall of Famer, Wendell Scott and current NASCAR Cup Series regular Bubba Wallace, to win a NASCAR National Touring Series race.
Caruth is currently fifth in the NCTS championship point standings after five races. He has logged one pole, one win, two top-five and five top-15 finishes. He’s recorded a 10.0 average start, a 7.0 average finish and completed 100 percent of the laps contested this season.

They have raced at Martinsville three times in the past, once in the NCTS and twice in the Xfinity Series. How do you leverage these past starts and work to improve your previous results?
“I think I ran pretty well in the Xfinity car. I placed 12th twice. Last year's truck race was somewhat unknown as we started in the rain. I'm definitely feeling a lot better heading into this weekend than I did last year in terms of confidence in myself and my team and the quality of the equipment I'm riding. I think we need to continue doing what we have done right all year and the results will show.”
Things can get hot on the track in Martinsville. How do you channel your competitive drive without getting caught up in incidents?
“I think I'm a pretty calm person, so I'm not too worried about the track record in Martinsville. I've had conflicts in the past and I just try to compartmentalize things and go situation by situation. I’m not too conspicuous and I don’t get upset if something happens.”
Chase Purdy – Driver, No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado

Chase Purdy will Pilot Spire Motorsports’ No.77 Bama Buggies Chevrolet Silverado in Friday night’s Long John Silver’s 200 at Martinsville Speedway.  
In four NCTS starts at Martinsville Speedway, Purdy has earned a 16.3 average start and a 25th-place average finish. He has completed 554 of 728 laps contested over those four races.  
Purdy started eighth and finished 10th in last year’s Long John Silver’s 200.
Friday night’s 200-lap affair will mark Purdy’s 81st career NCTS start and sixth behind the wheel of the No.77 Spire Motorsports Chevy Silverado.
Two weeks ago at Circuit of the Americas, the Meridian, Miss., native qualified 16th and raced inside the top-15 for most of the race and ultimately came home 22nd. Purdy is currently 20th in the NCTS championship point standings.
On top of the box, Purdy’s crew chief Jason Trinchere has six starts in the NXS at Martinsville Speedway with Kaulig Racing. In his six starts he has five top-10s including one top-five finish. In 2022, he called a runner-up finish with driver Landon Cassil.  

Chase Purdy quotes
What does it take to run well at Martinsville?
“Martinsville happens to be another one of those tracks with the same track location. We have to have a good day from the start and qualify well. If you qualify well, you have a better chance of staying ahead all night. We have a strong result from last year and would like to build on the success of our last visit.”
How much does the week off benefit you and allow you to prepare for this two week stay from Martinsville?
“The weekend off was definitely an advantage. It gave us the chance to restart and come back stronger to a track where we know we are good. I was able to go home and visit my family for Easter, and I know my boys enjoyed spending time with their families too. As a group, we are coming back with a clear head to run again where I know our Bama Buggies group is capable.”
In terms of one of your favorite routes, where is Martinsville?
“Well, Martinsville is in the top two of my favorite tracks. I've raced younger models on short tracks like Martinsville, so I feel comfortable every time I'm out there. Every time we get to Martinsville I’m confident I can go out and win.”
From the top of the box
Brian Pattie – Crew Chief, No. 7 Chevrolet Silverado

Brian Pattie earned two NCTS victories last year, both with Kyle Busch. The duo started off the 2024 campaign with a victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
In addition to his three NCTS triumphs with Busch, he also won with Ron Fellows at Watkins Glen International in 1999.
Pattie was atop the pit box for six wins across 14 seasons in the NASCAR Cup Series and has 11 career victories as a crew chief in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
In last year’s NCTS race at Martinsville, Pattie guided Busch to a runner-up finish.

Chad Walter – Crew Chief, No. 71 Chevrolet Silverado

Chad Walter has over two decades of experience and began his career with Hendrick Motorsports in 1996.
Walter guided Caruth to his first NCTS win March 1, 2024 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Some of his most notable accomplishments include a pair of Daytona 500 victories (2001 & 2003) with Michael Waltrip, along with Cup Series wins with Steve Park and Terry Labonte.

Jason Trinchere – Crew Chief, No. 77 Chevrolet Silverado

Jason Trinchere earned his Bachelor of Science from Penn State University and began his professional career in 2005 as the race engineer for the iconic No. 75 Spears Manufacturing NCTS team, owned by series’ pioneers Wayne and Connie Spears.
Notable accomplishments include Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 wins with both Ganassi Racing and Penske Racing. He was a key member of the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Championship team with driver Joey Logano.

Spire Motorsports PR
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