Corey LaJoie is a third generation driver with one win in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour series, three wins in the ARCA Racing Series and five wins in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. In 2012 he was named as one of the NASCAR Next, “tomorrow’s stars, today.”
In June 2013, LaJoie took the next step in his career, signing a development deal with Richard Petty Motorsports. Since signing with RPM, however, he hasn’t seen as much on-track action as one might imagine.
His previous starts this year were a NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kentucky in June where he placed 16th and two races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with a 17th at Kentucky (June) and a 10th at Bristol in August.
However, LaJoie is now poised to finish out the season on a high note, competing in four of the remaining five Nationwide Series races, as a result of a partnership agreement between RPM and Biagi-DenBenste Racing.
In his first race of the four race series, LaJoie finished 26th at Kansas Speedway in his No. 98 Medallion Financial Ford. The following week at Charlotte Motor Speedway, he completed the race in 24th, after getting caught up in a multi-car accident on the first lap of the race. He also made his second Sprint Cup Series start at Charlotte in the No. 77 Ford of Randy Humphrey Racing, finishing 35th.
After this weekend’s races, he tweeted, “It was great to race on my home track in front of family and friends. I learned a ton. Just taking one leap of faith at a time.”
I spoke to LaJoie in Charlotte and he expressed a similar sentiment of appreciation for the opportunities he’s been given at RPM.
“They’ve been working hard,” he said. “It’s tough to find the money right now but they felt the need to get me in some races before the year was over. They’re a great bunch of guys over there and I’ve learned a lot.”
Although this partnership is a one-time deal, he is hopeful that the alliance might extend into next year but for now, LaJoie is focused on this season.
“Hopefully we get some money rolling in and I’ll get a couple of good races in this year and we’ll see what the future holds but all that is for a later date,” he told me.
LaJoie is intent on using the crucial seat time to hone his skills behind the wheel.
“I need to learn how to slow down. In everything else I drove, I’ve had to make up for the lack of equipment,” he explained. “You can’t do that in the Nationwide Series. The drivers are too good and the cars you’re racing against are really good.
“The days of driving 110 percent and making up those extra couple of tenths are over,” LaJoie continued. “I’ve got to learn how to drive 95-100 percent within the boundaries of what the cars are giving me and try to work on that and get better.”
He’s looking forward to the two remaining races with Biagi-DenBenste Racing, “They’ve got some good cars and some really good people over there,” LaJoie emphasized, “so I’m excited to see what we can do.”
Next up for the 23-year-old LaJoie is the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on November 1 and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15.