NASCAR: The underdog who finds himself ‘actually fighting’ to win

Corey LaJoie, Spire Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Corey LaJoie, Spire Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

NASCAR Cup Series driver Corey LaJoie spoke about his relationship with CELSIUS and his successful start to the 2023 season.

CELSIUS has been in involved in NASCAR over the last few years, and they are continuing to grow their involvement as a sponsor.

The energy drink featuring healthy-energy formulas clinically proven to offer significant health benefits to dedicated consumers and racers alike currently sponsors several teams and drivers in the Cup Series, including Spire Motorsports and Corey LaJoie.

Before the season began, they signed a multi-race partnership to sponsor the 31-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina native’s No. 7 Chevrolet throughout the year.

LaJoie has been a fan of CELSIUS since well before they become his NASCAR sponsor.

“I would say for the last couple of years.” LaJoie told Beyond the Flag. “Before I became a spokesperson, I haven’t been an energy drink guy, but before every race, I found myself grabbing a CELSIUS to get that little bit of a bump of caffeine to get you going.

“It’s clean, sugar-free, and all the stuff that I look for in my healthy lifestyle. So when we had the opportunity to work together, and those guys jumped in my racecar, it’s been a really cool opportunity to carry those guys around the racetrack.”

He has become a regular consumer of the beverage.

“I almost drink one every day!” he said. “Maybe not seven days a week, but if I’m at the shop, I’m generally grabbing one out of the standup cooler. If I’m at the racetrack, I’m generally sipping one over the course of the race weekend.

“If I’m at home I’ll have a coffee in the morning but if you need that 1 or 2 o’clock caffeine, instead of grabbing a coffee, I’d grab a CELSIUS. So, I’m probably five or six days a week, but I try to keep it to one (per day), but it is definitely ingrained in my lifestyle for sure.”

Superspeedways have been a big strong point for LaJoie throughout his NASCAR Cup Series career.

All six of his career top nine finishes, including two top five finishes at Atlanta Motor Speedway, have come at such tracks.

Having been given a faster car by Spire Motorsports over the last few years, he enters race weekends at superspeedways, such as this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, knowing that he can fight for positions and potentially be a contender for an upset victory.

“We’ve had an interesting strategy at speedways where you kind of ride in the back, and wait for guys to wreck,” he said. “But now, the car that Spire Motorsports has been giving to me for the last two to three years have been capable of actually fighting and being offensive and trying to get some position, so Daytona, Talladega, Atlanta are opportunities to throw a Hail Mary and find a way in Victory Lane. So we go down there with all the intention to try to win the race.”

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As a whole, even at the non-superspeedways, LaJoie has had the strongest start to a season he has ever had, sitting in 22nd place in the point standings through nine races heading into the GEICO 500. But he still knows that there is room for improvement.

“A little bit everywhere, you know,” LaJoie said. “Communication, execution is always key. My teams continue to give me fast cars. So as we learn what makes these cars handle better, what gives them more downforce, and we start applying those things, it certainly is going to be just an easier weekend overall.

“We’re going to miss it sometimes just because we’re a bit of a small team compared to some of the big ones, so it’s expected sometimes, but on our good days, even on our average days, we should run in the top 20, which is a big improvement this year from where we had been.

“So it’s a little bit of everything. It’s a little bit of confidence, a little bit of speed on our cars, a little better execution, little better pitstops, and I think we have all the ingredients to continue to do that.”

For the first time in his Cup Series career, LaJoie has a full-time teammate this year, with Ty Dillon behind the wheel of the No. 77 Chevrolet. LaJoie doesn’t necessarily believe there is “much there” in terms of whether or not having a full-time teammate for the first time has been beneficial to him, but he does think that it has played a role in advancing the team.

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“Having a more consistent datapoint in that second car to be able to give back-to-back information and feedback is important.”