TriStar Motorsports announced their 2018 plans for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series today. TriStar Motorsports will continue fielding a single full-time entry in NASCAR, splitting time between two drivers.
With the uncertainty of the future of BK Racing, Corey LaJoie has joined last year’s No. 72 driver, Cole Whitt to fill out the MENCS 2018 schedule for TriStar Motorsports. LaJoie will drive the No. 72 for the majority of the schedule, including this month’s season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
Whitt Requesting Limited Schedule
With intentions to shift focus, Whitt has elected to decrease his racing commitments and has requested a limited schedule.
Whitt’s NASCAR career includes seven years on the circuit, where he has competed in NASCAR K&N Pro Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and the Monster Energy Cup Series. He completed the full 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in the TriStar Motorsports No. 72 securing three top-20 finishes and one top-15 being his best finish of 12th place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“I want to thank TriStar and the Smith family for allowing me to do something I feel is the right decision for me and my family,” said Whitt.
“I am excited and a little nervous to say that I will be racing a limited schedule this year. I am looking forward to taking the next step in my life and trying to spend most of my time with my family. Stepping back from racing is a hard choice but I strongly believe this is the right path. TriStar has been an amazing blessing to me and my family and I look forward to what the future holds for both of us.”
LaJoie is a third generation racer, son of Randy LaJoie, the 1996 and 1997 NASCAR XFINITY Series Champion. Lajoie’s career so far includes six wins in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and three wins in the ARCA Series. In 2012, LaJoie was selected as a member of the 2012 NASCAR Next Class. Two years ago, LaJoie competed in ten Xfinity Series races where he earned two top-ten finishes. He made the leap to the MENCS in 2017, earning the highest finish of his rookie year campaign — 11th place, in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
“It’s such a great opportunity to work with TriStar Motorsports,” said Corey LaJoie.
“I hope to use the learning experiences from my 2017 Rookie Season and work hard for some great finishes this year. It’s my goal to continue building a successful team with Bryan, while honoring the legacy his dad, Mark left behind.”
TriStar Motorsports owner, Bryan Smith said it’s a different approach for the team, utilizing a pair of drivers.
“It is an opportunity we feel is the best direction for this season and accommodates the goals of both drivers as well as the team,” he said.
“We are more than pleased with Cole’s efforts in 2017 and are extremely glad to have him back this season. He has been an integral part of our return to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and we appreciate his contributions to our team. We are equally as pleased to add Corey to our driver roster. His attitude, desire, and ability are a welcomed addition and we feel he will be a great fit. We feel both drivers embody the core elements of who we are as a team and are confident each will contribute to the betterment of our program.”
NASCAR Cup Charter Acquisition
TriStar Motorsports has a guaranteed starting position throughout the 2018 season, acquiring a charter from Front Row Motorsports for the season Crew Chief Frankie Kerr will return to the No. 72 as well.
The team announced that sponsorship details for the MENCS No. 72 would be released at a later time, as well as the plans for the TriStar NASCAR XFINITY Series program.
Check out ClosetNASCARFan.com’s interview with Corey LaJoie from last season here.