CHEVROLET NCS AT DAYTONA 500 MEDIA DAY – Zane Smith Media Availability Quotes

Would this step have been possible without all the work Justin Marks has put in?

“It’s been very busy since Bristol and our announcement. What’s been awesome is Trackhouse is doing so much in this sport and so is Spire. For me, landing at Spire for this year and getting this Cup experience I think will go a very long way. I just have a great group of people around me and the people that Spire is acquiring from their management side and the people who put in the work behind the scenes is very high. I’m excited to see what we can do.”

When did conversations start on this deal?

“It definitely came out of nowhere. Justin and I have stayed in touch from when I was possibly going to end up at Ganassi and he had taken that over. He has always been so down to earth and so cool to talk to. My racecar is not out of that building but I do have meetings and it’s great to be back. It’s cool to see all the Trackhouse touches on that building.”

Has this hit the timeline you expected, or has it been a bit of a whirlwind?

“It has hit the timeline, but it’s definitely been a crazy path to get here. There have been so many times where I didn’t think I would see a racetrack again, and to make it to Sunday is what every racer dreams of and is so special. I want to make the most of this opportunity and be here for a while.”

What are the expectations given the gains that Spire has made?

“They’ve accomplished a lot in just this offseason. Their goals are to perform and nothing short of that. For Carson (Hocevar) and I, this is our rookie season, and we hope to learn and progress throughout the year. We know how crazy rookie seasons can be, but that’s where we’re at. On Corey (Lajoie) side, I know he’s looking for his first win as Carson and I are, but he’s had a lot more experience and have seen the old Spire days so it’s cool to hear him and Ryan Sparks’ stories of where it once was and to see it now. I’ve just experienced all the stuff that they’ve gotten through this offseason, and it’s been a lot. It’s cool to be a part of.”

What does it mean to you to know this is the start of a 36-race process?

“That’s the most exciting part. Last year I got to race in the Daytona 500 and didn’t get to sit in it for a few weeks and then would race and would wait a couple months and back in one, so to be able to race week in and week out is awesome. I feel as if I’m going to learn so much. I learned so much in just one Cup race last year. It’s been crazy the path to this point but excited for this year.”

What’s it been like this offseason working with both teams?

“It’s been a lot throughout this offseason just with me doing double everything. Double competition meetings, double pre-race meetings not only the Trackhouse side but the Spire side. My racecar is out of Spire, so I’d say I’m there a little bit more, but it’s just been a lot of trying to soak it all in learning every bit I can. It’s been great so far but ready to get this year going.”