(SPARTA, Ky. – Sept. 21, 2013) – Corey LaJoie grabbed the lead with 33 laps to go in Saturday’s ZLOOP 150 at Kentucky Speedway and took his No. 17 Medallion Financial Ford into victory lane for the third time this season.
“We’ve had really good set ups for these cars lately, but, for Iowa, for some reason, our car was off,” LaJoie said. “We went back to the drawing board after Iowa and put together what we thought would be good at Kentucky, and it ended up being really good. It was a great day.”
LaJoie, a Richard Petty Motorsports Development Driver, won at Chicagoland Speedway in July and Pocono Raceway in August. In the Roulo Brothers Racing No. 17, LaJoie led the most laps in the ZLOOP 150, which was held Saturday after being rained out on Friday. LaJoie led 40 of 100 laps.
Mason Mitchell finished second in the Happy Cheeks Ford, Spencer Gallagher third in the Allegiant Travel Chevrolet, Grant Enfinger fourth in the Motor Honey-Casite-Advance-Ford and Chad Boat fifth in the SteppingOut4Hope.com Toyota.
Mitchell had his best career finish. He led 20 laps despite having to start back in 21st.
“In practice yesterday, we struggled a lot,” Mitchell said. “But, everybody did a great job in the shop this week and we had a really good car.”
Gallagher scored his fifth top five of the season.
“We made a lot of changes after practice yesterday. We kind of went out there sight unseen,” Gallagher said. “We were very, very fast at the beginning of the race. It was a good day for the Allegiant Travel Chevrolet.”
Frank Kimmel, in the No. 44 Ansell-Menards Toyota, finished ninth, his 20th top 10 of the year. He will take a 315-point lead in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship point standings. All Kimmel he has to do is make an attempt to qualify for the Kansas Lottery 98.9 on Oct. 4 and he will clinch his 10th all-time series championship.
“It’s been a special year because of our consistency,” Kimmel said.
Kimmel started on the pole because Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell was rained out on Friday. He led the first four laps, three of which were under caution after Milka Duno, in the No. 35 CanTV-Milka Way Toyota, spun in turn two on the first lap.
Erik Jones started second in the Toyota Care-Matrix Protection Toyota and 26 laps early in the race. He recovered from trouble on pit road, then a spin on lap 54, to finish sixth for Venturini Motorsports. Will Kimmel, driving the Messinas-Cunningham Motorsports Dodge, was seventh.
The two top challengers for the SCOTT Rookie Challenge – Justin Boston in the No. 25 ZLOOP Computer & Recycling Toyota and Mason Mingus in the No. 32 811 Call Before You Dig/Mark-It! Madness Toyota – finished eighth and 10th respectively. Unofficially, Boston will hold a slight lead in the season point standings in the race for rookie of the year. The SCOTT Rookie Challenge counts only the best 15 races of the season among rookies who are registered for the contingency award. A total of 17 rookies were among the 32-car field.
Driving the No. 55 National Auto Placement-Motor City Transport Toyota, Taylor Ferns finished 12th in her debut at the speedway, one spot behind Tom Hessert in the Barbera’s Autoland Dodge. Chris Bailey, driving for Bill Kimmel Racing in the Clarksville Schwinn No. 69 Ford, finished a career-best 14th. Christopher Brown, in the Team Bear-Correct Temp Dodge, placed 18th in his ARCA Racing Series debut.
Another rookie, Boat, took the lead with 38 laps to go on a three-wide pass for the lead between LaJoie and Mitchell. The caution flew moments later when the No. 74 of Garrett Smithley in the Herobox-Derrike Cope Racing Chevrolet made contact with the inner retaining wall. Soon after the re-start, LaJoie got past Boat and cruised to the 2.564-second win. He led the final 32 laps.
“I was a little loose,” LaJoie said. “It was hard getting past those guys in dirty air. Once I was able to run on the outside of Chad and in clean air, it was smooth sailing.”
LaJoie, who was also the SCOTT Rookie Challenge Rookie of the Race, credited his crew chief, Harold Holly.
“He’s a big part of what we have going on,” he said. “I really appreciate him.”
Enfinger had another strong finish for Team BCR. He finished fourth with a late pass to get by Boat. He had one of the fastest cars on the track by the end of the race, but couldn’t catch the leaders.
“We needed a caution there at the end,” Enfinger said. “But, we’re making progress. Everywhere we’ve run this year, we’ve been fast.”
There were four cautions for 22 laps in the race, which took 1 hour and 12 minutes to complete.
Chase Elliott, in the Aaron’s-Hendrickcars.com-Chevrolet, started 26th, was in top 10 by the lap No. 10, and led from laps 36 to 40. He left the race, however, after losing power.
The ZLOOP 150 will re-air on Fox Sports 1 at 3 p.m. Sunday. The Fox Sports broadcasters Rick Allen and Phil Parsons were joined by former ARCA Racing Series champion and current NASCAR Nationwide driver Justin Allgaier in the broadcast booth with Jim Tretow and Ray Dunlap reporting from the pits.