Third-generation racer will make his Sprint Cup debut at Loudon this weekend.
Corey LaJoie is getting ready to dive into the deep end.
The 22-year-old third-generation racer will make his Sprint Cup debut this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the No. 77 Randy Humphrey Racing Ford.
“Randy needed a driver, I needed a car,” said LaJoie, who has run a limited schedule this season. “It’s a big jump but I’m going to go out there and learn the Cup cars and gain respect of the guys I race around.”
LaJoie, who turns 23 next Thursday, has yet to test a Sprint Cup car. However, LaJoie won three of the six ARCA races he competed in last year at Pocono, Kentucky and Chicagoland Speedway. He received assistance from Richard Petty Motorsports, who LaJoie remains under contract to, for his ARCA starts.
LaJoie’s first time on a track in Cup equipment will be during practice on Friday. Veteran crew chief Steven Lane will lead the team. The rookie insists he’ll be particularly considerate of the 16 title contenders competing in the second race of the Chase.
“Being a Chase race, I certainly have to be mindful of those guys,” LaJoie said. “I need to just run my own race and not hinder any of the championship contenders.
“I’m excited to learn and I’m going to get the best result that the car will give me.”
LaJoie ran double duty at Kentucky Speedway in June – finishing 17th in the truck race and 16th in a Nationwide Series in a race that was dominated by Cup drivers. It was his second start in the series where his father Randy LaJoie won consecutive titles in 1996 and 1997. LaJoie finished 10th in the Bristol truck race in just his second career start in that series.
LaJoie has six starts at the Magic Mile while racing in the K&N Pro Series East tour. He posted a career-high second-place finish and has a combined record of two top fives and four top 10 finishes at Loudon, the venue the LaJoie Family considers its home track.
“My grandpa, Don LaJoie, still has a junkyard in Norwalk, Connecticut,” LaJoie said. “He’s in the N.E.A.R. (New England Auto Racing) Hall of Fame. So it’s really cool to return to the Northeast and keep the LaJoie name on the track.”