ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Two seasons ago, Corey LaJoie spent the Gambler’s Classic at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall as the team leader on Ryan Flores’ No. 15 Lafler Chassis TQ Midget squad.
The event, which is the traditional season finale for the Len Sammons-promoted Indoor Auto Racing Championship Series, is one that has always held a place in LaJoie’s racing heart.
This past weekend, LaJoie was again at the indoor racing event, but in a much different role — as a spectator and supporter for Flores, who ultimately won his first-career championship in the series.
But the celebration with his friend and former driver came on the heels of an announcement that LaJoie will pilot a partial schedule in the No. 83 Toyota for BK Racing in the Monster Energy Cup Series this season.
The second-generation driver and son of two-time NASCAR Busch (now XFINITY) Series champion Randy LaJoie said over the weekend that he has 14 races outlined with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series operation.
“We have a 14-race schedule put together with BK Racing,” LaJoie told Race Chaser Online. “I am looking forward to it. I’m excited to get to Daytona for my first Daytona 500. I appreciate those guys giving me this opportunity. We will have Dustless Blasting on the hood and hopefully we can do them a good job.”
“I look forward to learning from those guys each and every week. It’s [a blessing] that I will be racing a lot more then I have in the past few seasons. I just try to keep my options open all the time and keep relations with everybody. That way, when seats do open up, you have to be there.”
LaJoie, 25, made two prior starts in the premier series with Randy Humphrey (in 2014), where he finished a career-best 35th at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October.
When LaJoie debuts with BK Racing in the 59th annual Daytona 500, it will not only mark a “dream come true” for the Kannapolis, N.C. native, but also his first appearance at ‘The Great American Race’.
His first goal? Making the race.
“I have worked for this my entire life,” Lajoie expressed. “So, when it comes together, it is really cool. I’m just going to take it one lap at a time and one race at a time. And the biggest thing is getting the car into the show because we are not guaranteed a spot.”
LaJoie, who made his name through performances in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, will also become a Cup Series rookie in a new era for the sport.
Recently, the sanctioning body announced it would break each race into segments, awarding consistency from the first few laps until the checkered flag drops.
The changes are something that LaJoie expected and thinks will draw more fans to the racetrack.
“I think they [NASCAR] had to do something,” Lajoie said. “It is so accessible to get racing coverage on a phone or computer … no one is really going to the races anymore. So, yes, they have to change it up to make it more of an experience, rather than just a 500 mile race. I think they are heading in the right direction.”
Along with his part-time schedule with Ron Devine and BK Racing in the Monster Energy Cup Series, LaJoie is also expected to return to JGL Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
“I’m pretty sure we are going to have Youtheory come back on the XFINITY side this season with JGL Racing,” LaJoie said. “Nothing is confirmed, as for right now, but it will probably be five to eight races. I’m looking forward to that. [JGL] has some great people over there working.”
Last season, LaJoie competed in 10 XFINITY events with JGL Racing, recording a sixth place result at Dover International Speedway in October; the third highest finish in the team’s history.
“I do hope we can get some more things going on the XFINITY side though. I really like those guys at JGL and they are definitely making leaps with their equipment.”
Right now though, life is good for LaJoie as he rides into his rookie season with confidence.
For a competitor that has bounced around the past few seasons, searching for the correct home, he appears to have found comfortable homes in both BK Racing and JGL Racing — two on-the-rise operations.
“I just want to start building a reputation and some respect from the guys on Sunday,” LaJoie said. “Hopefully, we can [follow that] and become a Cup champion one day.”
Listen in to Race Chaser Online’s interview with Corey LaJoie during the Gambler’s Classic at Atlantic City:
About the Writer
Marshall Gabell is the Mid-Atlantic Correspondent for Race Chaser Online, and handles public relations needs in multiple outlets of motorsports, including for tracks and drivers. Gabell is currently attending Stephen Decatur High School in Ocean City, Maryland, completing his junior year. He is just 16 years old.
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