After two seasons, Corey LaJoie will not be back in the #32 for Go Fas Racing for 2021. On Friday, LaJoie confirmed he will leave the team at the conclusion of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season.
“I’m sure most of you have seen the silly season news regarding the mutual decision for me to part ways with Go Fas Racing after this season,” LaJoie posted on Twitter (as of this article’s publishing, his account is locked; a permalink and screenshot are provided for posterity). “My partners and I are in discussions with several other opportunities to continue improving competitively in the Cup Series. Go Fas has been a significant part of my growth. Together, over the last two years of competing, we’ve achieved career-best finishes for both myself and the team. I’ve enjoyed working with all the guys and made lifelong friendships. Archie (St. Hillaire) runs a great team. I wish them all the best next season.”
LaJoie joined GFR in 2019, where he ran all thirty-six Cup races for the first time in his career as he finished a career-best twenty-ninth in points. GFR, who regularly offers one-year contracts to drivers, continued the trend for LaJoie as the pairing entered the 2020 season; the team also formed an alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing and LaJoie received a new crew chief in Ryan Sparks. After twenty-three races, LaJoie sits twenty-ninth in the standings and scored his lone top-ten finish of the year to date in the season-opening Daytona 500.
However, LaJoie had anticipated his departure, as noted when he spoke to Jeff Gluck of The Athletic. In an article by Gluck, he noted both parties “kind of expected” to part ways, with the driver carrying sponsorship that could prove valuable in his hunt for a new team.
Gluck also wrote that tensions between LaJoie and GFR may have developed when the team began racing with a livery supporting President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, which were exacerbated by Trump’s attacks on fellow driver Bubba Wallace in the summer and the current political climate. During the Brickyard 400 weekend in July, LaJoie added a line to his Twitter account biography that pointed out he was not responsible for what is placed on the #32; his account has since been in private mode.
A successor in the #32 was not immediately named but many have speculated SHR’s Xfinity Series driver Chase Briscoe, a championship contender in that tier, is the top candidate.
Various rides for 2021 remain available, including the #42 of Chip Ganassi Racing and #48 of Hendrick Motorsports. Some teams have drivers with expiring contracts or uncertain futures include Wood Brothers Racing‘s #21 and JTG Daugherty Racing‘s #37. Among the team changes with open seats are Spire Motorsports, who is opening a second car after purchasing Leavine Family Racing‘s assets, and the newly-formed Trackhouse.