Spire Motorsports announced Tuesday that they will expand its NASCAR footprint and field a team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series beginning in 2022.
The team will be led by championship-winning industry veterans Mike Greci and Kevin “Bono” Manion.
Greci comes to Spire Motorsports from Hattori Racing Enterprises, where he served as general manager for the last six seasons. Manion has spent the last two years at GMS Racing and will handle the team’s crew-chief responsibilities.
“After spending the last three seasons establishing our footing in the NASCAR Cup Series, Spire Motorsports is eager to lean on Mike Greci’s leadership and build a competitive NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team,” Spire Motorsports co-owner T.J. Puchyr said. “Mike’s resume speaks for itself. He’s a proven winner and excels at developing young talent. We’re fortunate to add someone as accomplished as Mike to our roster. Being able to complement him with an experienced, championship-winning crew chief in Bono Manion creates a foundation that we expect to be successful right out of the gate.
“There’s a tremendous amount of interest, enthusiasm and opportunity in the Camping World Truck Series. We’re excited to expand our team, create new jobs and make our mark in the Truck Series garage the Spire Motorsports’ way.”
Greci, a Granby, Connecticut, native with more than five decades of experience, launched his NASCAR career in 1990 as Mike McLaughlin’s crew chief in the ARCA Menard’s Series East (formerly Busch North Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East). Since then, he has earned ARCA Menard’s Series East victories with McLaughlin, Mike Stefanik, Ryan Truex and Brett Moffitt.
Greci won consecutive championships with Truex in 2009 and 2010. From 2013-16, he held the competition director’s role for Turner-Scott Motorsports and HSM with Justin Marks when the teams won four straight ARCA Menard’s Series East titles with drivers Dylan Kwasniewski, Ben Rhodes, William Byron and Justin Haley.
He transitioned to Hattori Racing Enterprises as general manager at the end of 2016 where he won four races and earned NCWTS championship honors in 2018 with Moffitt. From 2019-21, Greci and Austin Hill combined to notch eight wins while clinching a spot in the NCWTS playoffs all three years.
“I’m proud to join Spire Motorsports and take full advantage of the opportunity in front of us,” Greci said. “I’ve known both T.J. Puchyr and Jeff Dickerson (Spire Motorsports co-owners) for many years and I’m really impressed with how they go about their business. We’ll have an opportunity to develop some exciting young talent. Being able to pair a young driver with a crew chief as experienced as Bono Manion positions us to be competitive as soon as we hit the track.”
Manion has been a staple atop the pit box since 2002 and boasts wins in all three of NASCAR’s elite touring series. Some of his most recognizable accomplishments include back-to-back NASCAR Xfinity Series championships with Martin Truex Jr., (2004-05) and NASCAR Cup Series wins, including the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and Bank of America 500 with Jamie McMurray. He has collected seven NCWTS wins with four different drivers, including Daniel Suarez, Kyle Busch, Tyler Ankrum and Zane Smith.
“This is an exciting opportunity to help build a new team and establish Spire Motorsports as a top-flight organization in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series,” Manion said. “Building something from the ground up is the type of challenge that gets me out of bed in the morning. Collectively, we all envision this as a great opportunity to be competitive and give back to the sport that has given so much to all of us.”
The team will name its driver and announce 2022 schedule plans once they are finalized. In saying that, Zane Smith makes the most sense here.
Smith, is a young driver. He’s fits a driver that they’re after. They want a younger driver. Their words, not mine. Just look at what they said earlier.
“We’ll have an opportunity to develop some exciting young talent,” Greci said. “Being able to pair a young driver with a crew chief as experienced as Bono Manion positions us to be competitive as soon as we hit the track.”
Smith is just now only 22 years old and a current free agent. On top of that, he’s 2-for-2 in Championship 4 appearances. He’s reached victory lane three times, has scored 11 top five finishes to go along with 28 top 10’s in 46 career Truck Series starts. He was also runner-up in the final standings in each of the last two years too.
His crew chief in both of those years?
This team wants to groom a young driver to come up the ranks to their Cup team. Smith is the perfect candidate.