(LONG POND, Pa.. – Aug. 2, 2013) –Corey LaJoie is definitely on a roll.The Richard Petty Motorsports development driver came from the back of the 36-field Friday to win the ModSpace 125 at Pocono Raceway. It was his first-ever visit to the track. He took the lead with two laps to go when the leader, Erik Jones, scrapped the wall and went to pit road.
“It just all worked out again,” he said. “Either way, we’re here in victory lane.”
Driving a Roulo Brothers Racing Ford, LaJoie also won at Chicagoland Speedway in July when the leader ran out of gas coming to the white flag. His second ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards win was just as dramatic. He was in the lead when he pitted on lap 34. He came out and eventually had a battle with Chase Elliott for the second position, but was about five seconds behind Jones.
“I don’t know what happened to him,” LaJoie said. “I was digging for all it was worth. We were catching him. His car was getting bigger in my windshield, but he was too far ahead.”
However, with two laps to go, Jones, in the No. 15 Venturini Motorsports Toyota, went to pit road. LaJoie grabbed the lead, saw the white flag and finished 17.013 seconds ahead of runner-up Frank Kimmel. Justin Boston, in the ZLOOP Computer & Electronics Recycling Toyota, finished third and Brennan Newberry in the Qore 24 Chevrolet fourth.
“People might say we got lucky twice, but if we weren’t in that position, we wouldn’t have been here,” LaJoie said.
It was a lightning-fast, 50-lap race with zero cautions and an average speed of 162.221 mph. It was over in a race-record 46 minutes and 14 seconds.
The top seven cars finished on the lead lap. Spencer Gallagher, in the Allegiant Travel Chevrolet, finished fifth, Mason Mingus in the 811 Call Before You Dig Toyota sixth, Will Kimmel in a Cunningham Motorsports Dodge seventh and Mason Mitchell in the Happy Cheeks-Mason Mitchell Motorsports-Empire Ford eighth.
Elliott, who became the youngest superspeedway winner in series history when he won at Pocono Raceway June 8, finished ninth after a tire issue with nine laps to go sent him to pit road in his Aaron’s-Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet.
Kyle Martel in the Hanover Cold Storage-Finish Line Transport Chevy was 10th in the final race standings.
Nick Igdalsky, driving the No. 86 Camel Beach Water Park ModSpace Chevrolet, and vice president of Pocono Raceway, finished 11th. Jones, driving a Venturini Motorsports Toyota, finished 12th after leading the most laps – 25.
Frank Kimmel came up just short of his record 80th ARCA Racing Series victory, but was pleased with the run. Ultimately, he increased his lead in the point standings.
“I had a fourth- or fifth-place car and we came out of here second,” he said.
Kimmel said the team planned to pit when it did, but never expected the race to stay green the entire time. He was the first of the leaders to come down pit road for tires and fuel.
“I thought we were in good shape,” he said. “Corey did a great job in the pit stops and beat us out of pit road. I’d like to know what he did so I can be a little better next time.”
It was a career-best finish for Boston, who had three fourth-place finishes this year entering the ModSpace 125.
“We had a really good day,” he said. “We had a really good car. I felt like I was out there by myself the way the stops worked out.”
Qualifying was rained out, putting Frank Kimmel at the start of the field for the race. LaJoie had to go to the back after stopping to make a wheel adjustment on pit road after the pace laps started. He made his first laps at Pocono Raceway during a 75-minute practice session about three hours before the race.
“This track is hard, let me tell you,” LaJoie said. “No joke. All three corners are different. It’s hard to get a rhythm here. I tried a few things out and started getting it pretty good.”
The race will re-air on SPEED at 10:30 ET tonight.
The ARCA Racing Series will go from the 2.5-mile superspeedway of Pocono Raceway to the short track of Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan, for a race at 8 p.m. Saturday.