Event: Coca-Cola 600
Venue: Charlotte Motor Speedway (Concord, North Carolina)
Format: Four Stages – Stages End: Lap 100, 200, 300, 400
Date/Broadcast: Sunday, May 24 at 6 p.m. ET on FOX
Sunday’s 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be a special one for Go Fas Racing driver Corey LaJoie. When LaJoie takes the green flag, it will mark his 100th start in the NASCAR Cup Series.
LaJoie’s climb to the Cup Series started at a young age, following in the steps of his father, Randy LaJoie, a two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion. And just like any racing career, LaJoie’s has included many ups and downs along the way.
The now 28-year-old made his first NASCAR national series start in 2013 in the NXS, driving the No. 9 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which would be his only start that year. The following year in 2014, LaJoie made his first start at NASCAR’s highest level, debuting in the NCS at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. LaJoie would go on to make an additional Cup start at Charlotte Motor Speedway, compete in five NXS events and two NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series races.
Despite not making any national series starts in 2015, LaJoie returned to the cockpit in 2016 to wheel the No. 24 in the NXS for 10 races, earning two top 10 finishes. In 2017, he secured a spot in the NCS field for 32 races, and 23 for the ensuing season.
On December 20, 2018, GFR announced that it had signed LaJoie for a full season in the No. 32 for the 2019 schedule and nearly a year later sealed a contract extension for 2020. Since joining the single-car GFR operation, LaJoie has recorded career-high results, with nine top 20 finishes, including multiple top 10 results, to date. He earned a career and team-best finish at Daytona last July by tallying a sixth-place finish.
While Sunday’s race will be a special one for the North Carolina native to be proud of such a remarkable milestone, he will look to replicate the notable day the No. 32 team had at this event last year, finishing 12th. LaJoie will carry the decals of ARK, a blockchain technology platform, on his No. 32 Ford Mustang when he sets out for his 100th start.
ARK empowers everyone, regardless of their aim or technical background, to quickly and easily leverage blockchain technology. They provide the tools and resources that enable individuals, developers and startups to apply blockchain technology as a foundation for their own projects, applications and ideas.
Tune in to the 61st running of the 600-mile race on Sunday, May 24 at 6 p.m. ET on FOX as LaJoie sets the foundation for NCS start No. 101 on his trek to the next 100.
For more information on ARK, visit ARK.io.
LaJoie on his 100th race:
“If you would’ve told me when I was flying out west twice-a-month to Crew Chief a K&N West car just to pay the bills that I would eventually be running in my 100th Cup start at Charlotte I would’ve laughed in your face. It’s been an amazing journey – I have grown through lessons learned on the track but mostly off. I’ve formed countless friends and relationships I’ll have the rest of my life through this journey that I’m very appreciative of. In my mind, my Cup career is only just beginning in what I feel like I’m capable of competitively, but I certainly am enjoying the process. I was born 10 minutes from Charlotte Motor Speedway so it only feels right for number 100 to be right here in the backyard.”
LaJoie on ARK and the upcoming race weekend:
“I’m very thankful that ARK has supported me over the last three years and I’m really excited for the 600 this weekend. We had a really good finish there last year and we’ve been unloading with a lot of speed in these races without practice and qualifying. The 600 is all about being there at the end so we’ll manage our race and battle as we get closer to the finish. Memorial Day is all about remembering those who have served our country and we don’t want to lose sight of that in all that is happening in the world.”
LaJoie’s history at Darlington Raceway:
Best Finish: 12th (2019)
Average Start: 36.8
Average Finish: 26.6
Looking back on Darlington II:
Corey LaJoie and Crew Chief Ryan Sparks put together a solid run at the Wednesday night Darlington event, finishing 24th after a taxing return to the season at the Real Heroes 400 just days earlier.
Early on, two cautions slowed the field and the driver of the Keen Parts Ford had powered his way up to the 25th position with only five laps to go until the competition caution. LaJoie communicated to the No. 32 team that he was “loose in and tight on throttle” with Sparks replying that the crew would make an air pressure adjustment during his stop. The Go Fas Racing Ford returned to the track and maintained its running around the 27th spot and concluded the first stage in 26th.
Under the break, LaJoie made his way back to the attention of the Keen Parts crew for four tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment and lined up 27th for the restart on lap 69. Multiple yellow flags would slow the field yet again, but LaJoie powered through without harm. The 28-year-old crossed the line in 25th to finish the second stage at the track “Too Tough To Tame” as drivers started to report rain.
To start the final stage, LaJoie was racing in 24th but made contact with the wall in the opening laps of the stage. It appeared to LaJoie that the No. 32 had a tire going down, causing him to go two laps down after visiting pit road for an assessment. LaJoie gained a lap back by taking the wave around during a caution.
With 35 laps to go at the Lady in Black, LaJoie fought hard to inch his way up to 26th, just before reporting a “four out of ten tight” Keen Parts Ford. Rain swiftly moved in during a caution for the leaders, and the race was called with 20 laps to go in the scheduled distance. LaJoie and the GFR team brought home a 24th-place finish, a solid ending to back-to-back events at the South Carolina track.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!