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Two drivers who will benefit from Chase Elliott's suspension

By Ryan McCafferty,

NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott.

Two NASCAR drivers could benefit this weekend from Chase Elliott's one-race suspension for deliberately wrecking Denny Hamlin in the Coca-Cola 600.

One of them is Corey LaJoie, who will replace Elliott in Hendrick Motorsports' No. 9 car at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois.

LaJoie has raced in the Cup Series since 2017 but has never had a chance to drive race-winning equipment.

Throughout his Cup career, LaJoie has bounced around among BK Racing, Tri-Star Motorsports, Go FAS Racing and now Spire Motorsports. His performance has consistently improved, and this year he's enjoying the best season of his career ( 20th in points through 14 races ).

Should LaJoie shock the sport and win this weekend, it would put him in the Cup Series playoffs. Even if he simply runs well, though—let's say inside the top 10—it might put him on the map for a more permanent opportunity with a faster team.

The replacement for LaJoie in his normal ride in the Spire Motorsports No. 7 car will be Truck Series regular Carson Hocevar. who will be making his Cup Series debut.

The irony is not lost that Hocevar, who has endured controversy with various reckless incidents in the Truck Series, is getting this opportunity due to Elliott's stunt. However, his talent is undeniable, and he's only 20.
Hocevar is a logical choice for Spire, as he's driven for the team in two Xfinity Series races this season. He finished sixth at Darlington and eighth at Charlotte in those events.

So, while NASCAR may be without its most popular driver this weekend, it will be intriguing to see how the two biggest beneficiaries of his suspension perform.

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