One of the biggest names left in Silly Season 2020 is officially off the market as NASCAR Cup Series driver Corey LaJoie has found a home with Spire Motorsports beginning in 2021, in a multi-year deal.
The long-awaited news was confirmed via LaJoie’s Sunday Money Podcast on MRN and in a press release via Spire Motorsport.
“The next chapter of my racing career provides me with a unique opportunity to play a key role in working with a motivated leadership group to build a competitive NASCAR Cup Series team from the ground up,” said LaJoie. “I’m thankful to work directly with Spire Motorsports co-owners Jeff Dickerson and T.J. Puchyr and all of our partners as we build on the proud and competitive tradition associated with the No. 7. We expect to be a force in the garage for years to come.”
Just getting started. #s7ackingpennies pic.twitter.com/xTKdgGoLO0
— Corey LaJoie (@CoreyLaJoie) December 1, 2020
Spire Motorsports co-owner T.J. Puchyr expressed excitement over the signing, and the future of Spire in racing.
“Corey LaJoie is a talented young driver and has proven that he wants to get better every time he sits in the race car,” said Puchyr. “He wants to better himself and is willing to go to great lengths to make it happen. That’s the same philosophy Jeff (Dickerson) and I subscribe to in all of our business ventures. He fits very well with our group and will obviously play a critical role in the success of our team as we continue to grow and develop. We’re going to build this together and Corey will be the anchor.”
With the choice of the No. 7, the number pays homage to late NASCAR Cup Series champion Alan Kulwicki.
“We’re thrilled to pay tribute to Alan Kulwicki and Geoff Bodine by running the No. 7 and racing out of that shop,” added Puchyr. “Alan had a unique way about him and took a very unconventional route to winning a championship. Everyone knows the story. He didn’t have a ton of money and did more with so much less than many of the most well-heeled teams of that day. We see a lot of parallels between Spire Motorsports and Alan’s approach. At the same time, I grew up in the northeast and the No. 7 was synonymous with the Baldwin family so, it’s a proud moment to tie all that history together and compliment the No. 77 we’ve run the last two years.”
According to the Athletic, the team will utilize cars from Chip Ganassi Racing, and engine support from Hendrick Motorsports.
It was announced in August that Spire acquired the assets to the now defunct Leavine Family Racing. The team intends to still run two full-time cars in 2021.
LaJoie has spent the last two seasons at Go Fas Racing, finishing in the top-30 in points in both seasons. In 72 starts, LaJoie placed in the top-10 only three times and led a total of 13 laps.
GFR will move down to a part-time program in 2021, expected to run four to six races including the Daytona 500 in February.
After announcing his departure from GFR earlier this season, LaJoie became a often talked about name for 2021, with many fans forming their own opinions on where the Concord, North Carolina driver would land. As the season drew closer to the end, LaJoie was rumored to have been bouncing between staying in the Cup Series or moving down to a top-tier NASCAR Xfinity Series ride.
Thanks to LaJoie bringing sponsorship with him, he built a strong case for a driver for hire, especially during the financial uncertainty of the pandemic.
Schluter Systems will move over to Spire with LaJoie as well as Drydene – both coming over from Go Fas racing.
Spire Motorsports has two full-time charters for use for the 2021 season. With LaJoie occupying the first charter, the use of the second charter has not been confirmed as of this publishing.