Events: Coke Zero Sugar 400
Venue: Daytona International Speedway (Daytona Beach, Florida)
Date/Broadcast: Saturday, August 29 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC
Sixth-place. That's the position that Go Fas Racing driver Corey LaJoie was scored in when the 2019 Coke Zero Sugar 400 ended prematurely due to inclement weather in the Daytona Beach, Florida, area at the time.
While the 400-mile event was declared official 33 laps short of the planned 160-lap distance, LaJoie's sixth-place result marked a career-best finish for the North Carolina native, as well as the highest finish for the single-car operation of GFR since its inception in 2014. Over a year later, that still stands as the best finish for the No. 32 team.
On Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series returns to Florida for the 2020 Coke Zero Sugar 400 at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway for the final race of the regular season.
When you think of Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway, you think of the pack-style, high-speed action and the potential for striking crashes that can take place at any moment and wipe out a sizable portion of the field. But with Sunday's race serving as the final opportunity to secure the final spots in the 16-driver playoff field, the intensity level is sure to be significantly elevated.
For LaJoie and his team, they have their focus set on being in position at the end to potentially go for a win or finish in the top-five at the World Center of Racing. The 28-year-old finished eighth in season-opening Daytona 500, despite being involved in a crash on the final lap.
The GFR Ford will wear the familiar Trump 2020 paint scheme for the last race of the regular season in the Sunshine State, as part of the No. 32 team's partnership with Patriots of America, a political action group calling for the reelection of Donald Trump.
Now under 70 days until Election Day, LaJoie and his team are hoping to help get NASCAR fans to the polls in November. Out of an estimated 75 million NASCAR fans, about 15 million are not registered voters.
As LaJoie and the Trump 2020 team head to the high banks for a battle under the lights, get ready to cheer on the No. 32 Ford at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday by tuning in to NBC.
LaJoie on the upcoming race:
"We've got one last Hail Mary to throw this weekend at Daytona. This is a track that we run well at and who knows what can happen on Saturday night. We've got a good strategy worked out with [Crew Chief Ryan] Sparks and we plan to be there at the end. Our Patriots of America PAC Ford Mustang will hopefully be in contention when the checkered flag flies on the regular season."
LaJoie's Cup history at Daytona International Speedway:
Best Finish: 6th (2019)
Average Start: 33.6
Average Finish: 19.7
Looking back on the Dover Double:
Corey LaJoie kicked off the Drydene doubleheader weekend at the Monster Mile by starting in the 29th position in the first race of the weekend. During a caution on lap 7, LaJoie reported that the Drydene Ford was about a four tight, and headed to pit road for adjustments only. He returned to pit road for service during the competition caution and finished stage one in the 28th position.
He fired off from the top-25 for the start of stage two and reached seventh in the midst of green-flag pit stops until Crew Chief Ryan Sparks called the driver to pit road on lap 144 for four tires and fuel. When the green-and-white checkered flag flew to end stage two, LaJoie was in 26th.
Under the stage break, the Drydene machine took the wave around to gain a lap back in preparation for the final stage at Dover. On lap 228, LaJoie radioed to the Go Fas Racing crew that his car had no grip before making his final stop of the day on lap 235 for four fresh tires and fuel. With 60 laps to go, he was in the 30th position, but secured 29th over the final stretch and remained there until the checkered flag flew.
On Sunday, LaJoie and the No. 32 team took the green flag from the 30th position. An early caution for debris allowed the driver to pit for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment from the 26th position. After the restart, LaJoie got pinched by a fellow competitor and drifted back to the 29th spot, but would drive back to 28th by the end of stage one.
Sparks called the North Carolina native back to the attention of the Drydene pit crew to get four tires bolted on and to receive fuel ahead of the final segment. On lap 100, a caution flew as LaJoie got spun, causing left-rear damage. The No. 32 team assessed the damage on pit road and made adjustments to help loosen the Drydene Ford. When stage two concluded with LaJoie in 26th, he reported that the car "lost overall grip, mostly front-turn."
Stage three went green, but a spin at the onset brought out the yellow flag giving LaJoie the opportunity to take the wave around. With 75 laps to go, he had charged to the 23rd position, but still needed to pit. On lap 289, LaJoie cut a right-rear tire and sustained fender damage. After a trip to pit road, LaJoie restarted 28th with 18 laps to go. Despite the curveballs throughout the day, LaJoie rallied back to secure a 23rd-place finish.
About Go Fas Racing:
Go Fas Racing (GFR) currently fields Ford Mustangs in the NASCAR Cup Series for driver Corey LaJoie. Located in Mooresville, North Carolina, GFR has competed in the NASCAR's premier series since 2014; fielding cars for some of NASCAR's top drivers, including past champions. To find out more information about our team please visit www.GoFasRacing.com.
Stay up-to-date on Corey LaJoie:
To get live updates during the race weekends follow @coreylajoie on Instagram and Twitter. Make sure to give Corey a "like" on Facebook - "@CoreyLaJoieRacing". For a detailed bio and updated in-season statistics, please visit www.coreylajoieracing.com.
Trump 2020 - Las Vegas II
Keen Parts - Richmond Raceway
Trump 2020 - Southern 500
Trump 2020 - Coke Zero 400 Daytona International Speedway
Drydene - Dover Doubleheader