The Journey to 100: Corey LaJoie to make 100th Cup start in Coca-Cola 600

Photo By: Nigel Kinrade Photography / NKP Photo

By Sarah Handy, Staff Writer

Corey LaJoie or SuperShoe as he is also known, will make his 100th NASCAR Cup Series start in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24.

100th start. An important milestone when you know the journey that has led to LaJoie reaching this moment in his career. If you’re unaware of that journey, you’ve come to the perfect place. 

“It flies by and I feel like everything that I had to overcome to get to one Cup start and here I’m about to do 100 of these.” – Corey LaJoie

The Beginning

The son of two-time NASCAR Busch Series (Now Xfinity Series) Champion Randy LaJoie knew he wanted to race from the time he was a youngster. LaJoie began his racing career in karting events where he won on both dirt and asphalt. Further going on to compete in the Bandolero series, Aaron Pro Challenge Series, and UARA-Stars Late Model Tour Series before making his 2009 debut in the NASCAR Camping World East Series at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut.

K&N Pro Series East / ARCA Series

LaJoie would go on to make a total of 37 starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East from 2009 through 2016 capturing six wins, 18 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes.

Additionally, LaJoie went on to make his ARCA Series debut in 2009 at the age of 17 at Rockingham, finishing 23rd. However, he did go on to capture three victories in the series in 2013 in only five starts.

Xfinity and Cup Debuts

The journey has not been an easy one for LaJoie who made his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut in 2013 in the No. 9 for Richard Petty Motorsports, with that being the only race he ran between NASCAR’s top-three series all year.

Five Xfinity races in 2014 and two NASCAR Cup Series races including his debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway rounded out 2014, with no racing across the three series happening the following year as 2015 zoomed by.

Fast forward to 2017, as a then 25-year old LaJoie competed in 32 of 36 races for the now defunct, BK Racing, some of those being unpaid. However, a silver lining is LaJoie did have a season high finish of 11th at Daytona that July. 

(Photo By: Nigel Kinrade Photography / NKP Photo)

“It’s all part of the journey.” – Corey LaJoie 

Tri-Star Motorsports

2018 saw LaJoie compete on a part time basis for then Tri-Star Motorsports in 23 of 36 events on the Cup Series schedule. He finished the season with one top-20 and three top-25 finishes. His best finish of the season was a 16th place result at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

(Photo By: Nigel Kinrade Photography / NKP Photo)

Go Fas Racing

Corey LaJoie joined Go Fas Racing for the 2019 season, making it the first season in his Cup Series career where he would run the full schedule. Statistics wise it proved to be LaJoie’s best season at NASCAR’s elite level. He finished the season with two top-10’s, 7 top-20 and 12 top-25 finishes. LaJoie’s best finish was sixth place at Daytona last July.

(Photo By: Nigel Kinrade Photography / NKP Photo)

LaJoie weighed in on being in the Cup Series and learning to Kickin’ the Tires.

“It’s really cool and such an honor to just drive the Cup Series,” expressed LaJoie. “I’ve been gaining a lot of valuable experience. I’ve learned how to do a lot of things the hard way leading up to 100 races by doing it the hard way and making a lot of mistakes. A lot of people get to get it out of their way in the lower divisions, I didn’t really have that opportunity. I just had to jump into the deep end and learn how to swim.”

LaJoie Returns to Go Fas

2019 wouldn’t be the only season LaJoie would spend with the organization, they re-signed SuperShoe for 2020 as well. When asked how beneficial it is to be back with the same team this season, LaJoie said, “That’s big. You know, I think you keep building upon the notebook.”

“We’ve got some new cars from Stewart-Haas this year. Obviously, it’s going to be a little different with the way those have different down force balances. We will be learning what those cars really want the first time we go to these tracks, but I think it will be better. I definitely need to get a little bit better on the road courses, I haven’t had a lot of seat time on those. I’ll be working hard in those areas but overall, I think it’s important to keep building on that experience and on my notes.”

2020 Season Thus Far 

LaJoie started out his 2020 NASCAR Cup Series campaign being part of a highlight reel that will forever be remembered as Ryan Newman had a horrific last lap crash in the Daytona 500. LaJoie was also involved in that wreck but was able to walk away and credited with an eighth-place finish.

(Photo By: Nigel Kinrade Photography / NKP Photo)

To this day, both drivers are fine, and Newman is back racing after taking a temporary hiatus to recover.

SuperShoe went on to follow up his solid finish at Daytona with a 16th place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Overall, he hasn’t finished worse then 31st on the young season and just came away with a 24th place finish at Darlington Raceway on Wednesday evening. 

100th Cup Start 

When the green flag waves Sunday in NASCAR’s backyard at Charlotte Motor Speedway, LaJoie will embark on his 100th start at NASCAR’s top level of competition.

“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,” said LaJoie. “It’s been an amazing journey that I have grown through lessons and learned, 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,” expressed LaJoie. In my mind, my Cup career is only just the 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 No. 100 to be right here in the backyard.”

Writers Note: I originally spoke with Corey at Daytona in February. Below is where we had some fun with a few 1-100 and random questions in anticipation of his 100th NCS start this season, including how he would survive The Walking Dead and  replace the grass with Gummy Bears, yes Gummy Bears. 

Fun 1-100 Questions

Sarah Handy: How difficult is Daytona, 1-100?

Corey LaJoie: It depends, so by yourself its about a one, and in the pack its about 100. Because you’re trying to play chess and everyone is capable. They’re all really good race car drivers and they want to get that position just as much as you do. You’re playing chess with very tough opponents so in the race it’s a little bit of luck. But overall, it’s about 100 on a difficulty level.

SH: I’ve seen the videos of you on the bike at FitStop Performance and you’re a mad man on that bike sometimes. Do you think you reach 100mph there?

CL: (Laughs) The difficulty or the effort level? There’s certain times and certain the stimuluses where you are pushing for 100. You definitely have to push it and keep pushing the levels of what you think 100 is. 100 for anybody can be a mental limit so you have to keep pushing that.

SH: I’ve heard you love The Walking Dead. What do you think your survival rate would be 1-100?

CL: I do love The Walking Dead. I’m a couple seasons behind so I need to catch up. I’m a little bit behind. My survival rate, not good.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a plan. I have a plan figured out. There’s a Harris Teeter by my house so as soon as I know there’s a zombie outbreak, I’m going to go stock up on supplies. Milk and bread, you know the perishables, some canned good. I will high tail it over to dads shop. We have all sorts of fabrication tools there and I can make all sorts of weapons. I don’t have a whole lot of gun inventory, so I’d have to rob someone’s gun safe. But I think I could fortify the shop and at least have some sort of compound. We have a well and I’d need to get a generator to power the shop once the grid goes down. Then we will have our own little community over there.

Random Fun Questions

SH: If you could replace all the grass in the world with something, what would you choose?

CL: Gummy Bears. Who wouldn’t want gummy bears wherever you go. I wouldn’t grab a piece of grass; I’d grab a gummy bear.

SH: Any super power what would you choose?

CL: I’d like to be able to fly, that would be pretty cool. It would be so much easier then waiting in the TSA line. You could just fly wherever you wanted to go.

SH: If you could add a track or two to the schedule, your choice, what would you choose?

CL: There was a track on NASCAR 2001 I think it was called Dodge Raceway, it was a fictional race track. We should add Dodge Raceway to the schedule. If we’re talking about realistic tracks, I would like to see them add Kern, Nashville or Montreal on the schedule.

(Photo By: Nigel Kinrade Photography / NKP Photo)

Stay Connected with Corey 

Official Website: http://www.coreylajoieracing.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/coreylajoieracing 

Twitter: @CoreyLaJoie

Instagram: @coreylajoie 

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