Corey LaJoie is a development driver for Richard Petty Motorsports. He is the son of Randy LaJoie, two-time Nationwide series Champion. LaJoie has worked his way through the ranks of racing, winning at every stop along the way. He won three Late Model Stock Car races at Rockingham Speedway. He scored a victory at the K&N East series race at Bowman-Gray Stadium and four other races in the series. He took the checkered flag first at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2010 in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour. He was victorious in the ARCA series at Chicagoland Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Kentucky Speedway.
The amazing part of many of LaJoie’s victories is that he built the cars in the shop at the Joie of Seating, his father’s race seat company. The small group of racers who do it the old fashioned way are a throwback to when you could race your way to the top levels of the sport. LaJoie is trying to do that now with a boat load of talent but a lack of millionaire sponsor backing. In typical LaJoie fashion, he made a start in the Camping World Truck series for underfunded Ricky Benton Racing and brought home a top-10 finish. His continued efforts will hopefully catch the eye of a sponsor who will put him in a full-time ride for RPM to show off his true skills.
Before he took to the track in the UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP he sat down with Frontstretch to let fans learn a little more about him.
Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com: How do you feel about Truck racing? Is this something that you’d like to do on a full-time basis?
Corey LaJoie: I’d like to do anything full-time right now. Racing once every four months really sucks. I’m really thankful for the opportunity that Ricky Benton has given me. We have a pretty decent truck here but we’re racing against some really good trucks. I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on the aero side and tire side of these trucks. I’ve been here to Bristol quite a few times in the K&N car. We don’t have the speed on the short runs but I think we can maintain on the long runs. We just need to stay out of trouble. We’ll see where we end up.
Neff: Not too long ago you were up here in a Modified. The day didn’t turn out quite the way you wanted it to. Do you remember any of the impact with the turn one wall?
LaJoie: Oh yeah, it was a hell of a wreck. The left side sway bar arm broke going into one. It wasn’t a pretty site. Ended up hitting the wall head on. I had a GoPro camera in the car. My helmet bent the steering wheel, it went so far forward. It was a hell of a lick. We’ve forgotten all about that and now we’re here with this 92 truck for Black’s Tire Services. We’re going to put on a good show tonight.
Neff: You are a development driver for Richard Petty Motorsports. They’ve had you in a couple rides. Is there any new news on that front for more rides in the future or are we still trying to secure more sponsorship?
LaJoie: It is all about trying to find that dollar. It seems like those guys are working really hard to make that happen. It is just frustrating. I feel like I need to be on the race track every week trying to get better. I’ve been shaking a lot of hands and kissing a lot of babies. Hopefully something will come to fruition here. I know I can run with these guys. They put their pants on the same way I do. Once I get in a good car every week I’ll show them how I belong.
Neff: You won a few K&N races in your career. One that sticks out is the race at Bowman-Gray Stadium. Is that one of your favorite victories in your NASCAR career?
LaJoie: Bowman-Gray is pretty cool but it doesn’t relate to any skills you need to learn on the upper series. Bowman-Gray for the history is really cool. Every win is a big win. The Late Model at Rockingham the first time. Iowa, you can go on down the list to the ARCA car at Pocono. All of them are really big and beneficial. I don’t think there is one that necessarily stands out. Probably the first one at Rockingham stands out the most. Going to the shop and building that car in two weeks and showing up at the track and taking the win was pretty cool. I am just looking forward to the next one.
Neff: We like to learn a little about the life you lead away from the race track. You used to operate the Field Filler Fairgrounds over behind the shop. Unfortunately, that has gone away due to the time commitments that you and Brandon McReynolds have with the touring series you’re racing in these days. Do you still have a go-kart around and do you still jump into it once in a while?
LaJoie: Oh yeah, for sure. Unfortunately the Fairgrounds looks like North Wilkesboro right now, all grown up and nostalgic. We get a kart out there every now and then and knock the rust off of the old girl. We’re really busy, me and Brandon both, trying to get our careers going in the right direction. Hopefully, one day, we’ll make enough money to repave that joint and get a couple of karts out there. Right now my focus is trying to make it as a big time racecar driver.
Neff: Outside of racing what do you like to do for fun? Do you fish? Do you hunt? Do you water ski? Do you ride motorcycles?
LaJoie: I ride mountain bikes. I help dad at the shop with seats. Stuff like that. Nothing too crazy. I don’t fish, I don’t hunt, I just drive racecars. I haven’t really been driving a lot here lately, unfortunately. I’m going to the race track and trying to meet people. Shaking hands and begging someone to come on board and put me in a racecar. Hopefully all of that will pay off and then I can go do some fun things during the week and make the money on the weekends.
Neff: What kind of music do you like to listen to?
LaJoie: A little bit of everything. Country, Old Rock, every now and then a little rap. You never know, whatever the mood is. I like a little bit of everything. Nothing in particular. I know what music I don’t like. That is probably a lot easier to figure out when it comes on the radio than what I do like. I wouldn’t even know what would come up if I put my phone on shuffle. (pulls out the iPhone to see what comes up.) First song is Into the Night by Santana. Beer With Jesus by Thomas Rhett and God’s Not Dead by the News Boys. That’s the whole deal right there.
Neff: You mentioned helping your dad out making seats. Your dad is Randy LaJoie, two-time Nationwide series champ, who runs the Joie of Seating, or at least has his name on the door. Does he do as much work building seats as you do these days or are you making more than he does?
LaJoie: I haven’t really been down there too much. We’re almost down to one guy down there right now. It is our slow point of the year. We’ve got one and a half guys who come in and put seats together right now. Dad more or less designs them and goes to shows and tries to sell them. He gets a little stressed out with it at times but it is going pretty well.
Neff: What is it like having the King around and being on his payroll? Do you see him very often and get to talk racing with him?
LaJoie: I see him quite a bit. He is awesome. Just to have his knowledge to pick from is awesome. There is only so much you can learn from somebody on the race track. Just some pointers here and there. He can’t obviously tell you how to drive the race car. To see what kind of an icon he is off of the race track and how kind he is to people and attentive. That is what I need to focus on. He’ll make time for anyone, any time of the day. As big of a figure as he is in the sport, to still take care of the people who got him to where he is is pretty cool to see at 76 or however old he is.
Neff: If you were forced to run on one race track for the rest of your life, what race track would it be?
LaJoie: Maybe Concord Speedway. Concord is badass. I’m sure a lot of people will say Bristol or Bowman-Gray. I like all of those, those tracks are awesome. There are a lot more good ones than bad ones. I’ll say. Concord is just weird and it is fun. It is tough to pass, but it is tough to pass anywhere when you’re following somebody good. Concord and Bristol are probably the top two on my list. Rockingham is fun. I can’t even answer, that is a tough question. Rockingham is really fun if you have a good car. If you have a bad car it is the last place you want to be. I don’t really have an answer for you. Somewher between Concord, Bristol and Rockingham.