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LaJoie Excited for Return to Oval in 2024

Friday, June 28, 2024 Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Corey LaJoie packages tickets in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ticket office

Corey will strap into his No. 7 Chevrolet at IMS for the eighth time next month, fifth on the oval. His best “400” finish came for Go Fas Racing with a 19th-place result in 2019.

Chalk Corey LaJoie up in favor of NASCAR’s return to the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.

The Spire Motorsports driver said the entire NASCAR industry is excited to cross the Yard of Bricks “in the correct direction” for the July 21 Brickyard 400 presented by PPG.

“There’s just something special about going into the main straightaway at Indy seeing the scoring pylon and going 200 mph and ripping off into (Turn) 1,” LaJoie said. “This is one of those few moments in a year where you’re like, ‘I’ve got the coolest freaking job in the world.’”

Following 27 years of stock cars going counterclockwise around the IMS oval, NASCAR decided to switch things up for 2021, electing to utilize the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course that runs in a clockwise direction around the facility.

The fan base was fond of adding road curse events to the NASCAR schedule. NASCAR jumped from three road course events in 2019 to seven in 2021.

But sometimes absence makes the heart grow fonder and NASCAR decided a return to the IMS oval was a desirable venture.

With a new car in the Cup Series in 2022, a better oval race could ensue.

“I think the Next Gen car is going to really provide some good racing, more so than we've seen here,” LaJoie said. “I think it will be a better a better visual experience for the fans for sure.”

LaJoie explained the new car will allow for some bigger runs in a draft, not as big as we witnessed in the thrilling 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on May 26, but not far off either. In the past, maneuvering outside to make a pass of a stock car at Indy wasn’t a wise decision. It didn’t work particularly well. This year, it should.

“That’s what’s unique about our cars now is you might even see somebody get a run and go to somebody to right rear,” LaJoie said. “I think this car is going to allow some things that look different than what people are used to seeing.”

With a race on equal footing, LaJoie and Spire Motorsports have had the Brickyard 400 circled on the calendar for quite some time.

“We really want to perform well,” he said. “We’ve been having conversations and talking about Indy in the simulator and what we’re going to bring to the racetrack for certainly more weeks than normal. Just because it’s such a big race. You want to win the Brickyard 400. It’s such a special place.”

LaJoie has fond memories of racing at Indianapolis as a whole. His father, Randy LaJoie, won two NASCAR Xfinity Series races, formerly known as the Busch Grand National Series, at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Randy LaJoie also tried to qualify for the Brickyard 400 in the deep inaugural field in 1994. He ultimately wasn’t fast enough to make the 43-car field among 79 qualifiers.

Corey will strap into his No. 7 Chevrolet at IMS for the eighth time next month, fifth on the oval. His best “400” finish came for Go Fas Racing with a 19th-place result in 2019.

LaJoie has made a career out of racing for smaller teams and said it’s challenging to balance expectations in a sport dominated by winning. He has full trust in Spire Motorsports to deliver him a strong car to allow him to showcase his skills in front of a national audience on July 21.

“We just need to refine our processes and refine what our expectations are,” he said. I don’t think you ever fully figure that out. Expectations are opinionated. It’s opinionated by the person paying the bills might have a different opinion on the person bolting the cars together. So, trying to communicate and align what your expectations are is hard because everybody is a competitor and wants to go win. That’s what our goal is, and we’ve made some huge progressions.”