Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
LaJoie Growing With TriStar
JOILET, IL — For the most Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams they usually only have one person occupying the role of driver for the entire season. However, TriStar Motorsports has two drivers filling the position with Cole Whitt and Corey LaJoie.
The opportunity allows the two young drivers to grow, while the organization, who moved back up the ranks last year after suspending operations in 1997 and focusing on an XFINITY Series program from 2010 through 2017, continues to find their footing in the sport’s top level.
“Over the offseason, we just figured out which races Cole (Whitt) was going to be in and which races I was going to be in, and where his strong suits were versus mine and put the schedule together,” LaJoie told POPULAR SPEED. “He wanted the majority of his races at the beginning of the year, and I’m happy with doing mine at the end of the year so, it all worked out. Sometimes we go when we’re not racing and give support and offer a bird’s eye view from what we can see from the driver’s seat on top of the truck. It’s definitely unique, sharing a Cup car when you don’t see guys mixing it up very often, it’s cool to overlay. It helps me; it helps him, we can overlay our information and make sure we are consistent.”
2018 started off on a sour note for TriStar, failing to finish two of the first four races due to blown motors. However, as the year has progressed, they have been able to complete all of the laps with better results.
“Beginning of the year, when we were popping motors, we thought we had some decent cars and results to show but, now we’ve addressed that issue and now, every time we finish we usually have pretty solid days,” LaJoie said. “It’s just been me getting used to the guys and the team, and them getting used to me, and going back and forth with Cole (Whitt), it’s been a learning experience for their part as well as mine. But for the most part it’s been fun, and hopefully, during the second half of the season we can put together strong results too.”
Looking ahead at the schedule, LaJoie has kept his goals at a realistic level as he prepares to take control over most of the driving duties.
“Our goal is to beat the guys that we are on the same playing field as, like the 15 and sometimes the 32,” LaJoie said. “We feel like we can get up there and beat those guys. That’s the goal every week; the biggest thing is being consistent. Maximize the things in our control; sometimes there is mistakes that we make in our situation that are hard to overcome so, we just try to make the least amount of mistakes we can and maximize everything we have.”
LaJoie will continue to pilot the No. 72 this weekend at Daytona International Speedway; meanwhile Whitt’s next race will be at Watkins Glen International.
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