Spire Motorsports announced Wednesday that Rajah Caruth will pilot its No. 71 Chevrolet Silverado in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on a full-time basis in 2024. Chad Walter, who served as crew chief for Caruth in 2023, will be atop the pit box in the same role.
Additionally, HendrickCars.com will be the team’s primary sponsor for 10 races, beginning with the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in the Fresh From Florida 250 (Feb. 16, 7:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
“I’m usually a pretty stoic guy, emotionally, but it’s hard not to tear up a little bit thinking about this opportunity,” Caruth said in a press release. “There was a lot of uncertainty over the winter in almost every sense of the word. I just feel really blessed to be able to drive for Spire Motorsports and to be able to have Chad come with me. I’m flattered to have the support of HendrickCars.com and, of course, Mr. H (Rick Hendrick) and the whole Hendrick family. It’s a dream to be here and to have a full season and to have a place where I can grow is pretty special. I’m ready to get back to work and continue what we’ve done over the last few months. Huge thanks to Spire, Chevrolet, General Motors and everyone who supports me and my family for making this happen. I can’t wait for Daytona. Hopefully, I can make everybody proud.”
Caruth, 21, made his full-time Truck debut in 2023 as pilot of the No. 24 Chevy for GMS Racing, where he tallied four top-10 finishes and finished 16th in the final driver standings. The Washington, D.C. native additionally raced part-time in the Xfinity Series in 2022 and 2023 and tied his career-best result in that circuit (12th) at Martinsville Speedway last October. Caruth, the 2021 Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award recipient and alumnus of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program, is currently a senior at Winston-Salem State University.
“We’ve talked about seminal moments for Spire Motorsports in the past, and I think this is another one of those moments,” Spire Motorsports co-owner Jeff Dickerson said in a press release. “Rajah Caruth is an exceptional young man. He’s a very talented driver with a bright future. He’s obviously young in his career but he’s mature beyond his years. You hear people talk about an ‘it’ factor and when you talk to him and get to know him, it’s pretty obvious he has ‘it.’ We’re exceptionally fortunate to be able to bring Rajah into the mix and pair him with Chad Walter. Those guys worked together last season so to be able to keep them together should go a long way in terms of chemistry and being competitive. Outside of that, this is just a good situation for everyone. It’s as simple as that.”
Walter began his NASCAR career with Hendrick Motorsports back in 1996, serving as an engineer and crew chiefs for Dale Earnhardt Inc., Team Penske, Richard Childress Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing throughout his career, according to the press release. Most notably, Walter was a member of the No. 15 Chevrolet team at Dale Earnhardt Inc. when Michael Waltrip won the Daytona 500 both in 2001 and 2003.
“Personally, that kid, Rajah, has changed my life,” Walter said in the release. “I don’t know of anyone else who I’d want to work harder for, or have wanted to work harder for, over the last 15 years of my career. He’s so uplifting in so many ways. He works hard and he wants to get better. I’ve worked with some really good drivers in my past, but Rajah really stands out. He goes about things the right way and his passion for this has really made an impact on me. I jumped at the opportunity to work with him again. It’s kind of a crazy business we work in but when I found out that this could come to fruition – that we could do this again together – there was no other option for me.”
The entry continues Spire’s expansion efforts in the Truck Series following its purchase of Kyle Busch Motorsports and Rowdy Manufacturing assets. Spire will additionally field the No. 77 Chevy entry driven by Chase Purdy this season.