William Byron started third and finished 25th in Spire Motorsports lone NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series (NCTS) start at Circuit of the Americas (COTA). 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 XPEL 225 from Circuit of the Americas will be televised live on FS1 Saturday, March 23, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The fifth of 23 NCTS races on the 2024 schedule will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

Connor Zilisch – Driver, No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado

Rising star Connor Zilisch will make his NCTS debut in Saturday’s XPEL 225 at Circuit of the Americas. Zilisch, 17, is an accomplished karting and road racer who, most notably, was part of Era Motorsport’s LMP2 class win at the 2024 Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway, making him the second-youngest driver, ever, to win the iconic race. He parlayed that victory with a win last weekend in the 12 Hours of Sebring, one of the most highly regarded endurance races in the world.
The racing prodigy is a six-time Trans-Am TA2 class race winner for Silver Hare Racing and a central component of Trackhouse Racing’s driver development program. He also has one CARS Tour Pro Late Model victory, which he secured at Ace Speedway in Elon, N.C. last May.
In addition to Saturday’s 42-lapper at the 3.14-mile Austin, Texas road course, Zilisch will be at the controls of the No. 7 Chevy Silverado later this season at Talladega Superspeedway. Additionally, Spire Motorsports will coordinate a separate entry for Zilisch at the October 27 NCTS playoff race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer, through the generosity and support of Hixon Motor Sports, will serve as Zilisch’s primary sponsor for all three races. The Austin Hatcher Foundation is a leading nonprofit organization committed to helping families impacted by childhood cancer at no cost, for the entire family’s entire lifetime. The Foundation provides comprehensive, coordinated care through evidence-based therapies, counseling, family programs, grief groups, educational resources and more, fostering resilience and hope for families. The Foundation’s focus not only assists families coping in the present, but helps them thrive in the future following a childhood cancer diagnosis.
The Mooresville, N.C., native is the 2022 Mazda MX-5 championship runner-up where he also claimed rookie-of-the-year honors for Hixon Motor Sports. Zilisch made his ARCA Menards Series debut last season at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International where he led 34 of the race’s 42 laps before securing an impressive runner-up finish. He is slated to pull double duty this weekend, also competing in Saturday night’s ARCA Menards Series East opener at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla.

Connor Zilisch Quotes
How have you prepared for your first NCTS Start?
“I’ve been preparing for this one for a long time. You know, I’ve known about making my Truck Series debut for a few months now and I’ve had it circled on my calendar. It’s a road course which is kind of what I grew up doing and what I feel comfortable doing. I’ve got a lot of faith in the No. 7 team and the Austin Hatcher Foundation Silverado that they are bringing to the track. We’ve been working really hard to get not only the equipment prepared, but to get myself prepared. I’ve done a lot of simulator time and I’ve worked really hard to be prepared for this race. I just have to go out there and do my job, execute and don’t make any mistakes.”
Talk about the prior experience you have at COTA.
“I’ve been to COTA multiple times, most recently in TA2 in the TransAm series. I was leading the race and a wheel bearing broke, so we didn’t get the finish we deserved but I’ve always been fast there. I really enjoy the track because I feel like it’s a driver’s track. There’s a lot of different corners and a lot of different styles that you can kind of drive the place. It’ll be interesting for me to see what it’s like racing the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series since it’ll be new to me. A lot of the procedures will be new to me as well, but I’ll be with a great team, and I feel like I’m really prepared for my debut in the Truck Series. I’m excited to get to the track and get going.”
Have you set any goals for Saturday?
“I don’t really feel like it’s fair to set any goals. I don’t really know what I’m getting myself into, honestly, you know. I’ve never raced in the Truck Series before so there will be a whole lot of new things for me. I’d say my goal is to complete all the laps and learn and don’t make any mistakes. I feel like if we can do that, then hopefully we can run in the top five and hopefully compete for a win. I feel like I’m plenty fast enough to run up front, I just can’t make any mistakes and I think we will be there at the end.”
Rajah Caruth – Driver, No. 71 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado

Rajah Caruth will be behind the wheel of the No. 71 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Silverado for Saturday's XPEL 225 at Circuit of the Americas.  
Caruth secured his fourth consecutive top-10 finish of the season in last Saturday’s Weather Guard Truck Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. After starting sixth, the Washington D.C. native turned in a workman’s effort and brought his HendrickCars.com Chevy Silverado home eighth.
HendrickCars.com will serve as Caruth’s primary sponsor for the entire calendar of 2024 NCTS races.
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 earned his first career NCTS pole position and win two races ago at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where he led 38 of 134 laps and secured the win by 0.851 seconds. After 31 NCTS starts, he 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 third in the NCTS driver standings. After four races, The Winston-Salem (N.C.) State University senior has logged one pole, one win, two top-five and four top-10 finishes. He’s recorded a 9.8 average start, a 5.0 average finish and completed all 620 laps contested this season.
The 21-year-old racer has one previous NCTS start at the 3.14-mile, 20-turn Austin, Texas circuit. Last season, in his lone COTA start, Caruth rolled off the starting grid 20th and came away with a solid 13th-place showing.

You had to overcome some challenges last weekend but still managed to secure your fourth straight top 10 of the season. How do you get past those in-race circumstances to keep your head in the game?
“For me it’s not super hard getting over that stuff just because I think it’s important to compartmentalize when things like that happen and then realize you can’t change it. I’ve learned to focus on the task at hand and assess where you’re at. Basically, just trying our best to keep up our pace to stay on the lead lap. Thankfully with our group of over the wall guys, (crew chief) Chad (Walter), all of our mechanics and Joe (Campbell) spotting, we were effective in bouncing back, so I feel good about that.”
This weekend marks the first road course race of the season. You’ve only raced COTA once before. How have you prepared for this weekend?
“This is probably the race I put the most emphasis on so far this season, just because I know it’s not one of my strong suits. Although I didn’t finish terribly there last year (13th), I think everybody continues to improve, so I’m just trying to improve, also. I’m making sure I do my due diligence and be as prepared as possible through working with Josh Wise and the GM program. I keep working on my own iRacing practice and go karting, just because I know I’m essentially behind with my rotation skills compared to everybody else.”
Shifting gears from the ovals you’ve raced on so far this season, what excites you most about tackling a technical track like COTA?
“It’s exciting to go to a technical road course because there’s so many different corners that flow into each other. It’s hard and it shows the people who put in the work and time. I think I’m one of those people. Hopefully, we can get another good finish and continue our strong season.”
Chase Purdy – Driver, No.77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado

Chase Purdy will pilot Spire Motorsports’ No. 77 Bama Buggies Chevrolet Silverado in Saturday’s XPEL 225 at Circuit of the Americas.
In three NCTS starts at COTA, Purdy has logged a 24.7 average start and a 23.3 average finish, including a career best 16th-place finish in 2022. He has completed all 129 laps contested over those three races. 
The XPEL 225 will mark Purdy’s 80th career NCTS start and fifth at the controls of Spire Motorsports No. 77 entry. Purdy comes into the fifth race of the season 21st in points. Purdy is a mere two points outside the top 20 and just 22 markers outside the top 15.
Purdy is looking to bounce back from a tough outing last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway where he was ultimately credited with a 33rd-place finish.
Purdy’s crew chief Jason Trinchere has called three races NASCAR Xfinity Series at COTA. The Easton Pa., native led A.J. Allmendinger to a runner-up finish in 2021.

Chase Purdy Quotes
Being the only road-course on the schedule in 2024, how do you prepare differently? What is your mindset going into Saturday’s race?
“COTA is the most different track on the schedule, but I think you attack it the same way you do every weekend. There’s 20 turns, so studying last year’s notes and watching last year’s on-board cameras is very important. I’ve also gotten the ability to work closely with Josh Wise and Scott Speed to be better at my road course craft. I’m excited to apply the new tools and skills I’ve learned.”
What makes COTA so special compared to other road courses that you’ve raced on before?
“COTA is the most unique road course I’ve ever raced on and it’s definitely the longest. It’s pretty cool that Formula One races here, as well, so that’s something that we don’t get to see often. The track is very wide with a lot of runoffs and that creates two-to-three wide racing on restarts.”
You had a tough day at Bristol. As a group, how do you continue to build confidence and come back stronger?
“As a group we are not going to quit and we’re going to keep fighting. We have the tools to win and perform right in front of us. We just have some things to clean up and execute as a team. We’ll continue to stay disciplined, and the results will come.”

Spire Motorsports PR