JUST LOOKING BACK ON LAST WEEKEND WITH HOW MUCH YOU WERE UP FRONT AND BEING IN THE TOP-FOUR IN THE FAN VOTE, HOW BIG WAS THAT FOR YOU AND SPIRE MOTORSPORTS TO HAVE SOME TV TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
“I mean, at the end of the day you’re still racing B-Main. Our goal was to try to get to the big show and earn our way there, whether it be through a stage or win a race. Anytime you can get on TV no matter what the setting is, you know we had a pretty good car. We rolled the dice with some strategy there and got up front and kept some track position. Barring a caution and a wreck, I thought we could have potentially held them off. You know, we’ve got some more chances to get a win and be in the playoffs this year, but we’re starting to make some gains.”
THEN LOOKING A WEEK FURTHER AHEAD TO ST. LOUIS OR WORLD WIDE TECHNOLOGY COMING UP, HOW ARE YOU PREPARING FOR THAT?
“No, I’ve never even seen the place. Actually, I have seen the place as a kid when my dad was there. We’d go on summer long motorhome trips, so I’ve been there when I was probably seven on a bicycle. I haven’t ever raced there. I know some guys have Truck Series experience there. We don’t ever receive a simulator here, so it’s tough to really get up to speed with what we’re up against some other guys. I’ll jump on iRacing to run a little bit just to get some site points and things like that. Really and truly got to figure out how to learn the place as quick as possible and make efficient changes to your car after practice since it’s one of those open practice sessions.”
WHERE IS YOUR ORGANIZATION AT AS FAR AS CARS, PARTS, AND EVERYTHING? DO YOU FEEL GOOD OR I KNOW THE 77 HAS HAD A FEW ROUGH (INAUDIABLE)? I DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT’S DONE TO YOUR CAR COUNT.
“So, we’re I think we have four or five cars in rotation for the 7. I think the 77 has three plus the car that rides as a generic back up. I haven’t heard any overly concerned folks in the shop about being tight on cars. I know body parts and stuff are being repaired by the team, so that’s probably the only back log. I don’t know too much about what else is backed up. It seems as though we haven’t had any issues getting our cars prepared on time with the right parts.”
YOU KNOW A LOT OF (INAUDIBLE) WAS MADE AT THE START OF THE YEAR ABOUT THE CAR POTENTIALLY BEING AN EQUALIZER. I MEAN, I KNOW BIG TEAMS ALWAYS WILL HAVE MORE DEPTH AND MORE ENGINEERING, BUT HOW HAVE YOU SEEN THAT NOW THAT YOU’RE A FEW MONTHS INTO IT?
“I mean, obviously I never expected it to be an equalizer. It’s motorsports. It’s never going to be an equal playing field, but at least we are playing with the same parts and pieces as some of the other guys. Now, the box of what you assemble the parts and pieces I believe is a little bit bigger. Now, the small details across the whole car whether it’s underwing, shock builds are big. You know, now that’s something that’s really crucial part of making grip. So now if you’re a little bit off with the same parts and pieces, now you just get instead of having a bad day and running 21st, a bad day for anybody if you miss it is 28th and 30th. We’ve had a couple of good days, couple top-15 runs so far, but we’ve also had several bad days that we need to figure out how to make our short-track stuff a little bit better. I think for us on paper, we’re a 31st to 33rd place team so, anything above that really is overachieving. I feel like we overachieve every week, but it’s hard to beat when you look at a list there’s 22 or 24 teams that are directly tied into the OEM tap of information. We’re just one of those smaller buckets two or three down the line that gets the data after it’s used and applied for several weeks before us. The parts are the same, but data flow of information has not changed.”
SO, I KNOW YOU DIDN’T WANT TO BE IN THE B-MAIN AND YOU’VE NOW ADDRESSED THAT POINT. THE GAINS THAT YOU MADE ON THE FAN VOTE THIS YEAR, DO YOU HAVE A STRATEGY OR IS THIS JUST HEY I’M COREY LAJOIE?
“Certainly, the podcast helps and it’s not even like I went to seek that out to be able to do that. Been doing that organically for the last couple of years and the last two has been on NASCAR.com’s platform. It’s been a lot of fun to just give the fans a little bit of peek into what my life, my weekly life is and the struggles it is for a smaller team and a guy like in my situation to compete against Kyle Larson and guys that win races competitively. I think that’s certainly a big thing that allows people to relate to myself that I deal with the same issues and have bad days, have good days. I’m happy, I’m sad and all the stuff that comes along with it. There’s certainly that and it’s cool to hear fans yell Stacking Pennies or wearing your merch. Definitely makes you feel good when people spend their hard earned money to wear something with your name on it. It’s been a big uptick over the last six or eight months, I’ve noticed people supporting me. It’s definitely pretty cool. I wish we would have gotten the fan vote, but none the less I appreciate all the people who did take the time to vote. Like I said, I want to get in that thing the old school, the old fashioned way by winning a race and qualify my way in. There’s always next year.”
HOW IMPORTANT IS ALSO BEYOND JUST GETTING RESULTS AND HAVING GOOD FINISHES? IS THAT KIND OF BRANDING AND GROWING THAT POPULARITY IMPORTANT TO HOPEFULLY YOU BEING ABLE TO TAKE ANOTHER STEP AT SOME POINT SOON AND BUILD ON BEING IN A BETTER SITUATION?
“I mean at the end of the day, this is competitive based business. You got to make sure you’re the best at where you’re at, but also you have to be doing everything you do to put yourself in position to drive a race winning car with a race winning team. Anybody that says anything different, is probably lying to you. At the end of the day, the teams with the most OEM support are consistently (inaudible) teams. I knew what I signed up for here and continue to grind every week. I do enjoy the challenge of having, trying to figure out how to take chicken and make chicken salad. We do that pretty much every week. Everybody here in the building wants to be competitive and wants to hang banners on the wall and be a place where you do get that external motivation and external rewards in the way of money and trophies. I don’t like to be a materialistic guy, but we’re all doing this because we’re competitive. We all do this because we want to make money. We all do this because you want to be the one holding the trophy. That’s ultimately what my goals are as a racecar driver.”
WHEN WILL WE SEE YOU IN A SPIRE TRUCK?
“I asked the same thing my friend. That thing doesn’t roll out of Bono’s garage if it’s not paid for by somebody. We’ve seen the Hendrick drivers get their crack at it with HendrickCars.com on the side of it and it’s hard for me to go to all my partners who I already ask for a lot of to go jump on for the price it takes to go run a Truck race. I’d love the opportunity to get some extra laps, especially at a road course where I feel like I don’t have a lot of experience at, would it be Sonoma, Watkins Glen or Road America. Those guys have to make sure that they stay in the black and we’re going to see some pretty cool drivers behind the wheel of that thing coming up. There are some announcements soon, but hopefully one day I can drive that thing because Bono’s got that thing dialed in.”
THIS WEEKEND BEING MEMORIAL DAY, HOW COOL IS IT FOR YOU TO HAVE USO ON YOUR CAR?
“Man, super cool. I appreciate you asking that. It’s something I’ve been working with Coke on some different things through eNASCAR as well as the podcast so, to tie Coca-Cola and their support with the USO, obviously the Coke 600. There are so many different things that are coming together this week, a lot of obligations on my part that I’m happy to be a part of. Meeting a lot of service members, feeding men and women on Sunday before the race and just the amount of support that’s coming from (inaudible) and the USO on a car for 600 Miles of Remembrance is pretty cool. It’s been a lot of work behind the scenes trying to put all of this together, so to carry USO and this patriotic paint scheme on Memorial Day weekend is something I take pretty serious.”
OBVIOUSLY, THERE ARE A LOT OF GOOD THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN LIFE. THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS THAT ARE NOT AS GOOD, CERTAINLY THE WORLD HAS SEEN SOME OF THOSE. I’M CURIOUS AS A PARENT HOW DO YOU LOOK AT IT WHEN THINGS HAPPEN?
“I could go a lot of different ways with the answer, but I land on this. You know the world we live in is a broken place. This isn’t our intended home anyways. When it comes to raising God like or kids to respect themselves, respect their adults, to be able to thing for themselves, that’s what I’m excited for the challenge of having to raise a child to positively impact a community. Now, I’m still working on that, but it comes from being intentional. It comes from being there with your kids to teach them about the things that really matter, truly, in life and when you see the Uvalde stuff man, I couldn’t imagine dropping my kid off to daycare…. I’m going to cry. It would suck. So, it would suck. At the end of the day, we are called as Christians and just people who have some influence in society to make positive impacts with the platforms that we have. It’s easy to lose sight of that, thinking that you’re not being successful enough behind the wheel of a racecar when there’s going to be 100,000 people watching you on a Sunday afternoon, Memorial Day. Millions of people watching you on TV and it’s easy to put the blinders on and forget about how much outside impact you have, as well as impact you have right now at home. I’m going to raise Levi and this next son I’m going to have to be, like, men. We don’t have enough men in the world nowadays.”
IS THAT AS MUCH GETTING IT FROM YOUR FAMILY AND JUST BEING PASSED DOWN AND JUST CONTINUING THAT IN HOW YOU DO THINGS?
“Yeah, I mean to my grandfather right. You know, broken families lead to broken kids. You can talk about all the legislation you want to and beat that horse until it’s dead, which it’s been beat over and over. That’s not the root of it. The root is just broken families raising broken people. Hurt people, hurt people. There’s nothing that rings truer. That’s what we see more often than not, because as these hurt kids grow into hurt adolescents, then they are able to get their hands on guys. They’re able to get like to think about certain things that could cause death and harm to anybody they want to. Whatever you want to right now is open for business and we’re focused on the wrong things. We need to be focused on raising kids to think for themselves and to have self-confidence.”