Corey LaJoie has found his footing with Spire Motorsports. On Monday afternoon, the team announced they have signed LaJoie to a multi-year contract starting with the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. He will drive the #7 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE.
LaJoie spent the last two seasons, his first years in which he ran all thirty-six races each, with Go Fas Racing. In 2020, he finished thirtieth in the standings with a best finish of eighth in the Daytona 500. He announced he would leave GFR in August, while the team will downsize to a part-time schedule in 2021.
At the Cup level, LaJoie has three career top-ten finishes, all at superspeedways.
“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,” LaJoie stated. “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 #7. We expect to be a force in the garage for years to come.”
It has been a busy offseason for Spire Motorsports, who bought a charter from Leavine Family Racing to field the #7 in addition to their usual #77. 2021 will be the team’s first season as a multi-car operation, and the first with permanent drivers after using a carousel of names during their first two seasons of operation. Spire also got their hands on a third charter that has been loaned to fellow Chevrolet newcomer Trackhouse Racing Team.
“Corey LaJoie is a talented young driver and has proven that he wants to get better every time he sits in the race car,” Puchyr said. “He wants to better himself and is willing to go to great lengths to make it happen. That’s the same philosophy Jeff 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.”
The LFR asset acquisition also comes with the team’s shop in Concord, North Carolina. The shop was formerly used by Alan Kulwicki and his AK Racing team; the late Kulwicki would become one of the most iconic owner-drivers in NASCAR history after winning the 1992 championship in the #7 “Underbird” car. Spire will also use #7 for LaJoie as a tribute to Kulwicki, having received approval from NASCAR and Tommy Baldwin Jr., the latter of whom has used the number for much of his team’s Cup history.
“I’ve been an Alan Kulwicki fan my entire life,” LaJoie added. “To compete with the #7 on the roof and door is an honor for any driver at any level, but to have it here on our car in the NASCAR Cup Series is taken very seriously.”
“We’re thrilled to pay tribute to Alan Kulwicki and Geoff Bodine by running the #7 and racing out of that shop,” said 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 #7 was synonymous with the Baldwin family so, it’s a proud moment to tie all that history together and compliment the #77 we’ve run the last two years.”