I’m back, rested and full of a ton of content for ClosetNASCARFan.com. Man, I’ve got the coolest side gig via ClosetNASCARFan.com.
We’re doing more and more interviews face to face. Everyone we’re interacting with are cool, candid, and accommodating. Corey LaJoie was all three of those for sure. He completely setup our weekend on a good note for NASCAR original content. I’m completely thankful for his time and opportunity this past Friday afternoon.
LaJoie and I were originally scheduled for a standard 10 minute interview. He didn’t hold back, and gave great and detailed answers. Our allotted time flew, and at the scheduled stopping point, there were still a lot of questions to go through.
The BK Racing rookie driver graciously proceeded to spend more time, answering questions and giving opinions.
A lot of interviews happen within the confines of the hauler, but with no Xfinity or Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practices or qualifying going on, we sat in the director-chair style seats setup just outside the the back of the 83 hauler, shooting the breeze in the breeze. The article below ended up working out so much better because of the environment and LaJoie’s willingness to go over his time.
LaJoie, 25, is a rookie this year, driving for the BK Racing team in the No. 83 and is enjoying the ride.
As son of two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion Randy LaJoie, he’s got racing in his blood and says that advice from his father is a mixed bag. He said he doesn’t lean on his father as much as you’d expect though, but says his father is obviously wanting and is always trying to make his son a better driver.
“He’s seen me at the top of my game. He’s seen me race against Chase [Elliott], Ryan [Blaney], Bubba [Wallace], [Kyle] Larson, and I know I can race real well with those guys, but I’m not sitting on as fast of a horse as those guys are at this point in my career.”
This season, NASCAR has shifted a lot of schedules — moving start times to 3:00 pm. Sometimes, they’ve also compressed track events from their previous three days, down to just a pair — as they did with Richmond. LaJoie says he likes the compressed schedules.
“I like it, because it means you get to be at home on Sundays,” he said.
But the No. 83 driver says he’s not a fan of the later 3 pm starts and understands why so many fans and drivers alike have been complaining.
“I personally like the day race because you’re kind of slippin’ and slidin’ around,” he said.
He said the 3 pm start times get everyone home late, and you end up having to kill a bunch of time in the mornings of race days.
“It’s just brutal,” he said.
LaJoie acknowledged that the start time move was to accommodate the West coast viewers, but thought earlier was better.
“They can wake up and watch a morning race,” he said. “I hope they revisit that a couple more times next year.”
Data Age of NASCAR
LaJoie said that data and information now rules the Cup garage in modern NASCAR, and the bigger teams have an obvious advantage on the information side.
“The teams with the notebooks that are a phonebook thick or tablets have infinite amounts of information,” he said.
But LaJoie said he’s aware and thankful for what he’s got. He’s hungry to improve and learn.
“BK Racing has given me a great opportunity to run my rookie year,” he said.
“I feel like we’re just one or two small changes away from racing some of the bigger guys,” the rookie Cup driver noted.
“If we could get a little more manufacturer help, and a little more engine support, we could be pissin’ off the big teams.”
He said there’s already a different feel from the beginning of the season.
“I’ve learned a ton, and gotten way better. Hopefully I can keep showing up, and being a race car driver. It’s a pretty damn cool job.”
Rookie Podcast Experience
LaJoie doesn’t just have the yellow rookie stripe on the bumper of his No. 83 Toyota. He also had a virtual one back a week and a half ago, guest hosting at the last minute on The Glass Case of Emotion, a podcast usually hosted by Ryan Blaney, Kim Coon, and Chuck Bush. Blaney couldn’t make it in time for the August 30 recording and texted LaJoie.
“Blaney was off galavanting over in Amsterdam and Denmark doing what ever he was doing with Chase [Elliott],” LaJoie said.
LaJoie said Blaney was supposed to make it back in time for the recording, but a delayed flight kept him from making it.
“He texted me like twenty minutes before… and said, ‘Hey! Can you get down here?’ ‘Yeah, no problem,” LaJoie said.
“It was different for me to hold a conversation for an hour. Normally, I’m like after five minutes I’m done talking to ya. If I went back on, I feel like I could do a better job,” he said.
“It was cool just chopping it up about some different stuff — current events and whatever.”
LaJoie said it was tough being on the podcast, where despite being hosted by three people involved in NASCAR, there’s not a lot of NASCAR talk typically.
“All I know is racing, so I didn’t have a whole lot of input on anything else,” he said.
“I’ll talk your ear off all day long about racing, but when we start talking about Taylor Swift — or anything other than racing, I don’t have a whole lot to add,” he said.
“But yeah, it was a blast,” he said.
Stay tuned for part two of our interview with LaJoie later this week.