Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
LaJoie Not on Sorenson’s Christmas Card List
After making his return to the top-10 in XFINITY Series competition, last season Corey LaJoie said, “Everybody is starting to realize that Corey LaJoie can drive again.”
After tonight’s Can-Am Duel, more people saw proof of that as he qualified for the Daytona 500, but it came at a cost – he won’t be on Reed Sorenson‘s Christmas List anytime soon.
Battling middle of the pack to be the “open” car that transferred from the first Can-Am Duel to the Daytona 500, Sorenson had made his way in front of LaJoie. Though with 12 laps to go through the tri-oval, LaJoie made contact with the back bumper of Sorenson, causing Sorenson to get sideways, tag Paul Menard, and then make substantial contact with the inside wall.
“It certainly wasn’t on purpose,” LaJoie said. “I was just trying to fill a hole. He didn’t think I should be there.”
While the contact may not have been on purpose, the driver of the No. 83 Dustless Blasting Toyota didn’t seem to be apologetic much in his post-race comments.
“I just had to beat him. I didn’t want to be sipping Margaritas on the beach on Sunday. I wanted to be out there racing,” he said. “If that was my mom, I’d probably spin her out to make the Daytona 500, too. That’s just frank. I’m not going on Reed’s Christmas card list this year, but that’s all right.”
Sorenson was done for the race, noting post-race he thought he was in the right spot before the contact.
“I think we were in a good position to make this race with what the guys were doing with the car – it was driving great,” he said. “It looks like he just turned us like I thought. I guess he did what he thought he needed to do to make the race. Hope he’s proud of it. It’s unfortunate that we are going to miss the Daytona 500.”
Following the incident, LaJoie was able to continue, lagging at the back of the pack, finishing 18th to qualify for the Daytona 500.
“If I would have tore my car up, we definitely wouldn’t have made the race,” he said. “I just kind of lagged back. It eats at your competitive side watching everybody else dice it up, but I’ll save that for Sunday.”
While he may not have made the field as he originally planned, the former member of the NASCAR Next Program will be one of the 40 drivers to take the green flag on Sunday afternoon. The opportunity to race is a huge payoff after the work put in by LaJoie to get the ride.
As soon as he knew there was a seat open at BK Racing, he started politicking to get it.
“I know I can do it in the right opportunity,” he said. “I politicked very hard. I didn’t feel like I was making a whole lot of headway with it. I texted Jimmie Johnson. I said, ‘Hey, I feel like if the seven-time champ comes two weeks removed from the seventh championship makes a text, it could carry some weight.’ He said, ‘Oh, yeah, no problem.’
“So he called him up, talked for about an hour. Two days later the call came to me. Hey, this is the call you’ve been waiting for. Let’s go.”
Right now, the deal for LaJoie is part-time for this season, but a good run on Sunday could go a long way on adding some races as LaJoie says, “BK is working hard to try to sell sponsorship to fill more races.”
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