Strategy Lands LaJoie First ARCA Triumph
JOLIET, Ill. – Corey LaJoie led when it counted Sunday, winning the Ansell ActivArmr 150 at Chicagoland Speedway in just his second career ARCA start.
LaJoie passed leaders Justin Boston and Josh Williams just before taking the white flag and sailed to his biggest career win.
“It just all worked out,” said the Richard Petty Motorsports development driver.
LaJoie, driving the No. 17 Sims Metal Management/Roulo Brothers Ford, led 36 of the first 52 laps. His team decided to pit on lap 80 for fuel and two tires, a strategy that worked in his favor when pole sitter Ryan Blaney ran out of fuel with seven laps to go and Boston appeared to do the same with two circuits left.
“With about 20 to go, Harold Holly (crew chief) said we were going to come in for fuel and tires and see if we can out smart them a little bit,” LaJoie said. “I came in to get tires. After that it was just all-out racing.
“I saw the 25 (Boston) and he was way up there and my spotter said ‘leader is out of gas’ and I said ‘sweet, we’re coming to the white flag.’”
Cunningham Motorsports driver Blaney had built nearly a full lap lead on the rest of the field after taking the lead from LaJoie on lap 53. But, his car ran out of fuel with seven laps to go and Venturini Motorsports driver Justin Boston, in the No. 25 ZLOOP Computer & Electronics Recycling Toyota, inherited the lead. Then, on lap 98, Boston ran out of gas. He finished seventh, the first car one lap down.
Williams finished a career-best second in the No. 02 Allegiant Travel Ford, in his second race driving for Gallagher Motorsports. He was on the same pit strategy as Blaney and Boston, but was able to make it to the end.
“In practice, everybody does there fuel millage thing,” Williams said. “We had really good fuel mileage. At the end I was just rolling out of it way early, but I was saving all I could.”
With the runner-up finish, Williams moved up to fifth place in the ARCA Racing Series driver point standings.