LaJoie Gets 'Monster' Win
It took Corey LaJoie 23 races to reach Victory Lane in his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East career, but once he got there, he's made it a regular occurrence.
The 21-year-old Concord, N.C., picked up his fourth win in the last eight races Friday evening at the "Monster Mile" in the American Real TV 150 at Dover International Speedway.
The victory moved LaJoie to within one point of championship leader Kyle Larson with two races remaining.
LaJoie held off runner-up Darrell Wallace Jr. and third-place Brandon McReynolds in a green-white-checkered finish.
|2||Darrell Wallace Jr.|
“All-in-all, man, it was just an awesome race and awesome car,” LaJoie said. “Brett [Moffitt] was really strong, Darrell was really strong. We just kept putting ourselves in position, and came out with it.”
LaJoie and McReynolds got together while battling for the lead on Lap 147. The damaged rear bumper cover on LaJoie's car put him in danger of being black-flagged, but free-pass car of Gdovic knocked the cover off under caution before that happened. With the issue resolved, NASCAR withdrew the black flag and LaJoie maintained the lead.
“It all started there when I got a good run on the top and kind of pulled away from Darrell a little bit, I knew he’d be coming with us,” McReynolds said. “I got to the outside of the 07 [LaJoie] and he just stuck me in the fence, I didn’t get into him, he ripped off my left front fender and tore up his bumper.”
“But that’s fine. He did a good job. He’s one of our buddies and we’ll get over it and talk about it sometime,” McReynolds added.
Ben Kennedy finished fourth and Larson, who started in the rear after a transmission change, came back to finish fifth.
Bryan Ortiz, C.J. Faison, Jimmy Weller, Dylan Presnell and Gdovic rounded out the top 10.
Brett Moffitt, who was the points leader entering the race, finished 18th. He was knocked out of the race lead after contact with LaJoie and then had to pit to change a faulty battery. He dropped to eight points behind Larson.
“If we win the next two races, it doesn’t matter what anyone else does, we win the championship,” LaJoie said of his chances to contend for the title. “If you win the race, you get the most points, that’s the way I’m going to look at it.”
LaJoie's wins have come on a flat quarter-mile (Bowman Gray Stadium), a .4-mile (Langley Speedway), banked .875-mile (Iowa Speedway) and now a high-banked mile (Dover).
Moffitt, a two-time winner at Dover, and Wallace, last year’s victor, tied for the race lead with 56 laps led. Moffitt has led laps in all four of his Dover appearances.
Earlier in the day, Wallace won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award presented by Coors Light and became the first K&N Pro Series East driver to capture two poles at Dover.
The American Real TV 150 will air on SPEED on Thursday, October 4 at 3 p.m. ET.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will return to the track Saturday, Oct. 27 for the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140 at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway.