Corey Lajoie will be tackling the ARCA race at Iowa Speedway with one goal in mind, to extend his winning streak to three. In fact, the 21 year old up-and-coming racer has almost achieved perfection, winning both of the ARCA races that he has entered, with the goal of making it a three-peat.
“To win in my only two starts this season is so exciting,” Lajoie said. “Having a taste of victory makes me even more excited to try to get that Medallion Financial Ford back in Victory Lane in Iowa.”
“I just want to be the first one across the finish line,” Lajoie continued. “In the other two races, everything worked in our favor and we’re hoping the same will hold true.”
“We’ve had two really good cars and we’ve been in position to capitalize on them when stuff happened to other people,” Lajoie said. “Hopefully this week, we can run out front and hopefully have nothing go wrong with the car.”
Lajoie has scored wins at two very different tracks, Chicagoland and Pocono, prior to his attempt to extend his joy of winning to Iowa.
“At Chicagoland, it was my first time on a mile and half,” Lajoie said. “That’s a learning experience in itself.”
“I was getting faster on every lap of the track and by the end of the race, we were the fastest car,” Lajoie continued. “Some tried to stretch and make it on fuel and didn’t make it.”
“So we were the first one getting the checkered, which worked out really good.”
“Pocono, man that track is tough,” Lajoie said. “They call it the ‘Tricky Triangle’ and it definitely lives up to its nickname because that place is really technical.”
“We picked up four seconds from when we first started practicing until race time just from me getting used to the track.”
Lajoie has been at the Iowa Speedway, where he will compete next, before in the NASCAR K&N Series. He has one win, two top-fives and three top-15 finishes in his four starts at the track.
“I really like Iowa,” Lajoie said. “We won there last fall in the K&N Series.”
“I grew up racing on short tracks, and Iowa is a perfect combination of short track and superspeedway,” Lajoie continued. “You carry a lot of speed there, so I’m thankful I will have a Roush Yates engine under the hood.”
“I think we will have a really good shot at the win this weekend,” Lajoie said. “At least I know where the parking lot is when I get there because I didn’t even know that for the last two races.”
Unlike some of the other racers against which Lajoie has competed, he and his team have just one car that they modify depending on the type of race track on which they are competing.
“Iowa is a seven-eighths track, so we had to make a bunch of changes on our car with brake packages and suspension packages to accommodate for that,” Lajoie said. “You’re not as worried about aero at these short tracks.”
“You’re more worried about down force and trying to get the car turning because the bigger tracks you rely a whole lot on aero,” Lajoie continued. “We’ve been lucky enough to have a good enough and neutral enough car that doesn’t favor one side or another.”
“The biggest thing you have to worry about is keeping the tires on it,” Lajoie said. “The ARCA cars have the most horsepower so they fight a lot more issues.”
“I know there will be some guys with some throw down short track cars there but hopefully we can make up for it in the seat,” Lajoie continued. ““We’re going to be worrying about putting the pedal to the ground and keeping the nose clean to get to Victory Lane.”
While Lajoie has a relationship with Richard Petty Motorsports and hopes to race for them full-time next year in the Nationwide Series dependent on sponsorship, he also relies on a little help from his family, including dad Randy Lajoie, and his friends when it comes time to get to the race track.
“Petty doesn’t have their hands in very much for this ARCA deal,” Lajoie said. “They help with the motors and pit crew and all that but the people at the shop is just me and one buddy and a couple others who pitch in and help hands every now and again.”
“Dad is out there for the Boone Nationals, the dirt modifieds, so he’s only about an hour and a half away,” Lajoie continued. “He’s going to cruise over race day and come hang out with us.”
“I compare our team to being like a pickup basketball team playing against Syracuse, North Carolina and Duke,” Lajoie said. “And we’ve been beating them every time.”
“Our pick up team ain’t doing too bad.”
Lajoie admits that he does not get quite the seat time of some of his other competitors, however, he tries to make the most of every opportunity that he has. And he also tries to keep himself in race shape by getting to the gym and racing in other series of the sport.
“I just really have been working out and doing cross fit the last couple weeks which has been kicking my butt,” Lajoie said. “You work muscles in the car that you don’t even know you have.”
“I wish I could get more laps because everybody I’m racing has way more laps than I do,” Lajoie continued. “So, I have to make the most out of every opportunity.”
“Sometimes I race a late model every now and then and run at Rockingham but I really don’t have any other options like a Kyle Larson that runs ten times a week,” Lajoie said. “I’m just in the shop, grinding it out and trying to get my car faster.”
Lajoie has already loaded up the car and will send it on its way to Iowa, while he and his team will fly out on Friday morning.
So, is the young driver ready to get to Iowa and attempt a third win on just his third start in the ARCA Series?
“I’m looking forward to that,” Lajoie said. “That’s going to be awesome if I get to Victory Lane for my third win in my third start but then I’m going to go back to the shop and get ready for win number four.”
“I just want to go racing because all this work and late nights and early mornings are for the birds until you get out there in Victory Lane,” Lajoie continued. “And then it’s all worth it.”