Corey LaJoie Out of Michigan Cup Series Race

Corey LaJoie

Getty Corey LaJoie waves to the fans at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro will feature a new driver at Michigan International Speedway. Corey LaJoie will miss the FireKeepers Casino 400 due to NASCAR‘s COVID-19 protocols. Though he did not test positive himself.

LaJoie appeared on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Thursday, Aug. 19, to discuss his situation. He explained that someone in his podcast studio tested positive for COVID-19, forcing him to enter a mandatory seven-day quarantine. He will not be able to travel to Michigan International Speedway for the race, nor will he contend for a top-10 finish and a potential win.

LaJoie said during his appearance that it “stinks” that he has to stay away from the No. 7 Chevrolet Camaro for two wild-card races where he could potentially contend for the win and that he may “agree or disagree” with many things that NASCAR does. However, LaJoie praised the sanctioning body for its approach to the shutdown in 2020.

“It sucks and it stinks,” LaJoie said, as transcribed by “Autoweek.” “We had a pretty good car prepared and Nations Guard is on the car this week and next, two wild card races in Michigan and Daytona. Anytime you see someone else, Josh Berry, dancing with your chick on the dance floor, that stings a little bit.”

An Xfinity Series Driver Will Replace LaJoie at Michigan

Josh Berry

GettyJosh Berry prepares for a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

With LaJoie out of the lineup, Spire Motorsports turned to a driver with plenty of experience replacing his peers. JR Motorsports’ Josh Berry will replace LaJoie in the No. 7 Chevrolet Camaro for the 200-lap race.

Berry made his Cup Series debut earlier in the 2021 season. He stepped into the lineup and replaced Justin Haley in the No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro for a race at Dover International Speedway due to COVID-19 protocols. Now he will do so once again while returning to Spire Motorsports.

Berry will actually pull double-duty during the NASCAR weekend at Michigan International Speedway. He will replace JR Motorsports driver Michael Annett for the New Holland 250 on Saturday, Aug. 21. He will then compete in the FireKeepers Casino 400 Cup Series race on Sunday, Aug. 22.

LaJoie Remains Above the Second Cup Series Cut Line

If LaJoie was able to suit up at Michigan, he would have the opportunity to contend for a potential spot in the playoffs. He is currently 29th in points, well below the playoff cut line. However, he remains above the second cut line.

According to the NASCAR standings, only the top 30 drivers are eligible for the playoffs. The top 16 remain above the cut line, but those from 17-30 can win and automatically lock up a spot in the chase for the championship trophy.

Aric Almirola is someone that previously did so with his win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He entered the race 27th in points and then raced his way to Victory Lane. This win moved Almirola into the playoff picture and ensured that he would join his fellow drivers in pursuit of the Bill France Cup.

LaJoie currently sits 29th after starting all 24 races and finishing inside of the top 10 once. He kicked off the season with a ninth-place run in the Daytona 500. Since that race, he has posted five finishes inside the top 20, including 15th at Nashville Superspeedway on June 20.

READ NEXT: Championship Contenders Face Off in Michigan Starting Lineup

Read More