The last time the NASCAR Cup Series headed to the new Atlanta Motor Speedway, Corey LaJoie turned in a fifth-place finish. Now the Spire Motorsports driver will return on July 10, and he will “throw a Hail Mary” while trying to steal a win.
LaJoie made the comments during a conference call ahead of the trip to the Atlanta Motor Speedway. He explained that a top-five day is no longer satisfactory, especially considering the recent stretch of struggles. The No. 7 team has finished 30th or worse five times since the early May trip to Darlington Raceway.
“I think we’re gonna change the strategy up a bit because I think we have to go to win,” LaJoie said, transcript courtesy of NASCAR Media. “I think a top five day doesn’t cut it. It really doesn’t. And we’ve shot ourselves in the foot for the last six, seven weeks here with a lot of mechanical failures and not running near to our potential as a race team. But, you know, if it’s a superspeedway, we have to go attack and be in position to throw a Hail Mary and steal one.”
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LaJoie Now Sits Buried in the Championship Standings
The recent issues have dropped LaJoie in the points standings. He was 17th after the Daytona 500 and 23rd after the fifth-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Now he is 31st in points heading toward the reconfigured Georgia track.
The recent run of poor finishes is not simply due to having a slower car. LaJoie crashed at Darlington Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway. An engine issue ended his day early at World Wide Technology Raceway. LaJoie finished the races at Sonoma Raceway and Road America, but steering issues kept him buried at the rear of the field.
LaJoie explained that bad luck has played a role in his 2022 campaign. He also noted that other teams have been able to take the parts from suppliers and fine-tune them to make them more durable during the grueling Cup Series races. Spire Motorsports is just trying to focus on building their cars.
History Bodes Well for LaJoie & Spire Motorsports
Throwing a Hail Mary and winning is not a simple task, but achieving this goal would put LaJoie in Victory Lane for the first time in a national NASCAR series. The win would also put the Spire Motorsports driver on a unique list.
NASCAR has competed at Atlanta Motor Speedway 116 times dating back to 1960 when Fireball Roberts won the inaugural race after starting on the pole. Since that opening race, six drivers have used the track to secure their first career win.
Bobby Johns (1960), Bob Burdick (1961), Jim Hurtubise (1966), Jerry Nadeau (2000), Kevin Harvick (2001), and Carl Edwards (2005) all reached Victory Lane for the first time in the Cup Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Harvick, who has three wins at AMS, is the only driver to win in his first appearance at the Georgia track.