Corey LaJoie doesn’t have a NASCAR ride secured yet for the 2021 season. But it’s a gamble he wanted to take when he announced he’s leaving Go Fas Racing, an underfunded Cup Series team, in late August.
There are several options for LaJoie in 2021 and beyond. He is one of a handful of drivers who have multiple sponsors backing him, which means he has a slightly better deck of cards.
However, LaJoie cannot give his sponsors a specific asking price until he has a job. The decision will be between a mid-level Cup Series team, a step up from his current ride, and a top-tier Xfinity Series program, where he believes he could compete for a championship.
“It would have to be fairly enticing just because I feel like I’m a pretty qualified Cup guy now,” he said. “Granted, I haven’t had the opportunity to run well in Xfinity or even in Cup, but I’ve proven I can take whatever car I’m in and finish several positions higher in a race or a season. In the Cup garage, you don’t get rewarded for punching up in your weight class. You get rewarded for winning, whether it be in the Xfinity Series or Cup.”
The next step is a major question mark. His situation is up in the air as NASCAR prepares to launch the Gen 7 racecar and revised business model in 2022, rather than 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But that’s also why he feels it might be worth it to drop down to the Xfinity Series for a year prior to returning to the Cup Series in 2022. He’s ready to go old school, too, by making a list of positives and negatives for each ride he might take. The possibility to join a team that is investing all of its resources for the Gen 7 is what he believes can set him apart, showing he’s not afraid to help grow a team from the ground-up.
A couple of victories in the Xfinity Series, where he’s never competed in more than 10 races in a season, could boost his worth to potential teams and give his sponsors a greater return-on-investment than they would get with a mid-pack Cup team. But LaJoie feels there are enough Cup seats available that can provide a respectable ROI while also building his brand to move him up the ladder.
See much more at Forbes.