STAFFORD – On March 5, 2010 Corey LaJoie won at Atlanta Motor Speedway in his debut event on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
LaJoie will make his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour debut from the front row of Sunday’s Tech-Net Spring Sizzler 200 at Stafford.
In his first qualifying effort at the track, LaJoie went out and broke the series track record at the facility. His time was later topped by pole-winner Ryan Preece.
LaJoie is the son of two-time Nationwide Series champion and Norwalk native Randy LaJoie and grandson of New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame member and Modified Racing legend Don LaJoie.
Before Saturday the 20-year old LaJoie, from Concord, N.C., had never turned a lap around the half-mile oval at Stafford Speedway. Reigning Whelen Modified Tour champion Ron Silk took LaJoie around the track Saturday morning in a truck before practice.
“I did about 50 laps before I came here on iRacing,” LaJoie said. “I don’t know how much that helps or hurts. But it comes down to having a good car and a good motor. [Crew chief] Doug Chouinard built the car and did a real nice job building the car. And this Robert Yate Racing spec motor is really good too. We’re kind of guinea pigs for this program and obviously it seems to be doing pretty good to compete with all the other good motors out there.
“Ron took me around in the NASCAR truck just kind of showing me the way around. After that it was kind of all my own. Granted the car was really good when we got here so that obviously helps. It doesn’t matter how good you are, if the car’s no good you’re not going to go fast. Luckily I had a good piece to run go out there and get familiar with the track.”
“I’ve always been able to adapt to places to quickly. I’ve never had the opportunity to really go to a lot of places and test, so I’ve always had that mentality that I’ve got learn a track and the race line within my first five laps on the track. I never have all day to mess around and run off a set of tires learning a track.”
LaJoie runs full-time on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. He finished eighth in the series standings last year. This year he has two top-five’s in the first three events and sits third in the standings. He was second in the division’s second event of the season on March 31 at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C. and finished third in Thursday’s event at Richmond (Va) International Raceway. He has also made four career starts on the Whelen Southern Modified Tour since 2010.
Competing at Stafford is a test LaJoie is excited to take.
“Two-hundred laps here isn’t going to be easy,” LaJoie said. “It’s definitely not easy when you come race with the big dogs up here. These guys, most of them can go around here with their eyes closed, and I’m out here white-knuckled with my eyes wide open. But anytime I can get behind the wheel of a race car, whether it’s a Modified or a K&N [Pro Series car] or a Late Model, it just makes me better.”
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