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Friday, November 26, 2021
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Corey LaJoie’s Potential Top-10 Run at Martinsville Goes up in Steam on Pit Road

If Corey LaJoie didn’t have bad luck, he’d have no luck at all.

The driver of the No. 7 Spire Motorsports entry had a banner day going Sunday in the NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500, when it all came undone in a pit road collision on lap 374 of the 500-lap contest.

LaJoie was slated to begin the race from 34th on Saturday, but unapproved adjustments sent him to the rear of the field for the start. The only way for LaJoie and the No. 7 team, seemingly, was up.

After 46 laps on Saturday, the race was red flagged for rain, and the conclusion was postponed for Sunday at 4 PM ET. When things got back under way, LaJoie started marching forward in the running order.

By lap 100, LaJoie had worked his way into 25th, but he could not keep from going a lap down to leader Ryan Blaney.

LaJoie would continue soldiering on, but his big break to turn his race around came on lap 260, when he received the free pass at the caution at the conclusion of Stage 2.

LaJoie used pit strategy to help him gain an advantage in the final Stage, where he worked his way into the top-20 shortly into the final Stage. As the final Stage rolled on, LaJoie skillfully avoided chaos on track, and as Justin Haley, Cody Ware, Kyle Busch and Anthony Alfredo all went for spins in separate incidents, LaJoie found himself inside the top-15 at lap 330.

A spin by Ryan Newman on lap 348, moved LaJoie into the top-12 and when Brad Keselowski, Ross Chastain and Erik Jones all got into each other on lap 370, LaJoie was sitting pretty in 10th-spot.

With 130 laps remaining, it looked like LaJoie was in the perfect position to score his first top-10 since the season-opening Daytona 500. Then, following a pit stop under this caution, the unthinkable happened.

As he was exiting his pit, LaJoie’s front end was struck by Tyler Reddick’s No. 8 car. The contact absolutely obliterated LaJoie’s car and it appeared to knock the radiator out of the No. 7 machine.

A plum of steam spewed from the twisted Camaro, and LaJoie’s day was done. What was to be a penny-stacking top-10 run, turned into a disappointing last-place finish.

Following the DNF, LaJoie posted a couple of uplifting tweets.

He started by Quote Retweeting NASCAR on FOX’s video of the pit road collision:

Then LaJoie shared a quote from Babe Ruth, which was echoed by Jimmie Johnson and apparently everyone’s favorite paper company’s regional manager — Michael Scott.

This marks LaJoie’s fourth DNF (did not finish) over the opening eight races of the 2021 season.

An engine failure ended his day in Homestead, a rear end spelled doom in Las Vegas, a crash with nowhere for LaJoie to go at Bristol on the dirt ended things two weeks ago, and now, the pit road collision at Martinsville has dropped the driver of the No. 7 car to 30th in the championship standings.

It’s a shame, as LaJoie and the No. 7 Spire Motorsports team are bringing improved equipment to the track each and every week, they just aren’t getting the results they deserve. But it should encourage the team that the  29-year old driver is remaining upbeat, despite the horrid luck early in 2021.

If they can keep bringing pieces like the one they had at Martinsville, and they can find just a smidge of luck, they could really impress at some point in 2021.

Toby Christiehttps://tobychristie.com
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.

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