Richmond County Daily Journal
For one day, Corey Lajoie stepped out of the shadow of his famous racing father.
Randy, who is a NASCAR Busch Series two-time champion, welcomed another champion to the family on Saturday. His son, Corey, earned his first career Late Model Race victory by out-driving the rest of the 31-car field in the UARA Late Model Race at the Rockingham Speedway.
“I watched my dad race here when I was growing up,” Lajoie said. “I remember taking pictures of him and the other racers at this track. It’s just a pretty awesome feeling to have my first win be at a track that is famously known.”
The Concord native said it was the first time he has driven this car, as it was just built this week.
“We built a brand new car, and my first lap in it was Friday,” Lajoie said. “But as everyone can see it turned out well and I have to thank my crew and my sponsor at Leveitt Chassis for a job well done. In this sport, if you have the equipment then you usually have a good car.”
Lajoie received a $3,000 check for going to Victory Lane, but quipped that amount pretty much covers the expenses.
“It’s good money and all, but $3,000 is as much as it takes to run in these races,” Lajoie joked.
The race extended over the official 70 laps due to several yellow caution flags involved in the race. Lajoie believed he ran more laps under the caution, than green flag racing, which he said was aggravating.
Kyle Grissom, who finished third, said the drivers on the track showed their inexperience when the cars were running tight. He added there were some problems with the track.
“There were many drivers trying to go really fast, and it seemed they weren’t used to going at such high speeds side-by-side,” Grissom said. “Also, the track was real slippery and that probably caused some cars to slide around.”
There were eight drivers that were penalized for working on their cars following Friday’s qualifying run. Pole winner Matt McCall dropped from first all the way down to 23rd at the start of the race, but ended up finishing sixth. Clay Rogers was slated to start fifth, but began in the back of the pack at 25th. Rogers finished dead last in the 32nd position.
Rockingham native Randy Benson was another of the drivers, who was penalized after finishing 20th in the qualifying run. Benson dropped down eight spots and started in the 28th spot. Benson inched up during the race and ended up with a 14th place finish.
“I love the experience and we made a little push after starting back farther than originally planned,” Benson said. “The only problem that came up was we had a little trouble with our right rear tire and we couldn’t afford to put another tire on. But we were able to come away safe and hopefully we can do this again down the road.”
n Contact sports reporter Corey Davis at 997-3111, ext. 44; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org