Clocking The Competition: Corey LaJoie Wins Whelen Mod Tour Season Finale At Martinsville Speedway 

Corey LaJoie celebrates victory in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Virginia is for Racing Lovers 200 Thursday at Martinsville Speedway (Photo: Adam Fenwick/NASCAR)

Corey LaJoie spelled out his mission Thursday at Martinsville Speedway in six simple words. 

“I came here for a clock,” LaJoie said. 

And when the dust settled on a wild late race battle for victory it was LaJoie celebrating next to a Martinsville grandfather clock trophy as the winner of the Whelen Modified Tour season ending Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 200 Thursday at Martinsville Speedway. 

“I told my wife I’ve got a room picked out for the grandfather clock,” LaJoie said while celebrating his first career Whelen Modified Tour victory. 

Matt Hirschman was second and Ryan Newman third. 

LaJoie was making his fifth career Whelen Modified Tour start Thursday and second this season. He was ninth on July 16 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. 

LaJoie became the fourth first-time series winner over 16 Whelen Modified Tour events in 2022, joining other first-time winners Mike Christopher Jr. (May 28 at Jennerstown Speedway), Kyle Soper (June 25 at Riverhead Raceway) and Anthony Nocella (July 16 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway). 

It was hardly a night devoid of drama for LaJoie, who started fifth and ran with the leaders most of the event. 

LaJoie used lapped traffic to get around Hirschman for the lead on lap 32 and held the top spot until caution flew on lap 130. A slow pit stop dropped LaJoie to 14th. But with the initial slow stop for tires, it clinched the team’s decision to make a second stop for fuel. 

LaJoie was up to fifth by the time caution flew on lap 186, and it was clear at that point that he and fourth place running Max McLaughlin had the fastest cars on the track. But under caution McLaughlin ran out of fuel. 

“It actually worked out to be a blessing,” LaJoie said of the bad initial pit stop to change tires. “The stop was so bad we couldn’t lose any more spots if we came down and put gas in it. It was a blessing. [McLaughlin] stayed out and tried to make it and ran out of gas. The fact that [my crew] … had the slowest Modified pit stop of all time, that actually won us the race.” 

The race restarted on lap 192 with Jon McKennedy leading, Jimmy Blewett in second, Kyle Bonsignore in third and LaJoie in fourth. Going down the backstretch chaos ensued among the top four cars, sending McKennedy and Blewett spinning and Bonsignore over the top of McKennedy’s car. LaJoie emerged from the fray as the leader.

McKennedy was able to limp to a 12th place finish to secure his first Whelen Modified Tour driver’s championship

“I thought I screwed up his championship hopes there for a minute,” LaJoie said. “He pinched me in the fence. We can talk about that later. 

“I’m sure I’d be pissed too if I got dumped for the lead. It was just tight and Jon pinched me in the fence out of [turn] two and my left front caught his right rear and turned him into [Blewett].” 


  1. David Fisher says

    I hope he has had time to watch a replay of the wreck. For what it’s worth, he drove that thing like the drivers of the late 70s and 80s did, which is what got me so hooked on modifieds in the first place. Good for him he does not run weekly, or someone would be exacting revenge later on.

  2. Blind Faith: Lajoie wins in a… Modified?

    It’s pretty easy to blame the guy who doesn’t even know what kind of race car he’s driving.. “ I don’t even know what you call these things, Modifieds?”, but I’ll blame the guy who doesn’t even know what kind of race car he’s driving…


  3. … further… it’s nauseating to me when someone stands there, not even knowing what kind of car he just climbed out of and feels compelled to praise “theses modified guys”, because they are “the lifeblood of the sport, they drive down from the northeast, they do it for nuthin’, they do it for the love of the sport”…

    … well, no you holy roller knucklehead, they actually do it for first place money you came in and stole while moonlighting.. thanks be to the heavens above he didn’t cost the 79 the championship… go focus on your cup ride, while you still have it..

  4. It’s crazy because his dad and grandfather where great modified driver’s all over CT. To be fair maybe he ment the model type troyer ta3, I hope so atleast if he doesn’t know that’s a modified randy did a bad job lol

  5. Wow…just wow. It’s absolutely OBSURD to believe that Corey doesn’t know what a modified is. Are you people that delusional? He was referring to TFR and their responsibility in Troyer and LFR. TFR manufactures Troyer TA1, TA2 TA3 TA4 and LFR G1 and G2. So that being said he did not know which design it was. He ran a LFR in Loudon and the car in Martinsville was a Troyer TA4. Can’t believe I am even wasting the time commenting. Wow.

  6. … you can run cover for Cory all you want, but I wouldn’t expect anyone, let alone a moonlighter to rattle of the chassis design lineage – just refer to the race car correctly in victory lane, with confidence.

    I’m sure he knows what a mod is and I’m sure it was biblical “fun” stepping into well prepared equipment and contending in one of the tours premier events vs. working on your average 24th place finish in your day job division..

  7. Amazed,
    Thank you for saying that. The keyboard warriors coming out in full force yesterday to torch LaJoie because of that comment was hilarious. It should have been very clear to anyone watching that LaJoie was just kind of stumbling over the regularly patterned victory lane reference to a car make and model that we hear so often. Like we hear guys all the time say “This Toyota Camry” or this “Chevy Camaro”. LaJoie obviously knows what a Modified is and those saying he didn’t are just looking for a way to take a shot at him because they were upset about how he raced.

  8. Happy I could a play a part in providing a chuckle to the big guy and all the other truly informed fans watching.
    OK then Lajoie knows full well the car he was driving and the history his family has with modifieds so I’m feeling sufficiently contrite. But what’s the assessment of the interview as a whole and how important is it?
    We’re spoiled aren’t we? I know I’m always amazed at how well spoken, disciplined and professional the Tour modified winners are in victory lane. Take McKennedy for example. Clearly elated about the championship as one might expect but he blended in a brief aside about the drama at the end. Not dwelling on it, not out of shape just a nice statement for the record. That’s what we’re used to for the most part…smooth.
    Forget the car reference. The entry list showed Chevrolet where the chassis manufacturer normally would be so perhaps being vague was connected to that. But how about the interview as a whole it was crude wasn’t it? Is he not a paid professional? That was a Friday night regular division interview in my view from the words spoken to the visual of whatever that haircut is. And not even a good one.
    Sure I’m embarrassed for interpreting the comment wrong but that interview demonstrated horrible communication skills. That stuck out especially considering he’s a professional.
    Your loyal RaceDayCt keyboard warrior,

  9. Doug,
    I wasn’t referring to you. Was making reference more to the folks who populated Facebook the last two days with multitudes of inane comments about LaJoie.

  10. No, no passes. I definitely deserve to be taken out to the wood shed rhetorically speaking I jumped on the Goldy bandwagon regarding the one comment. And for the record I still am on Goldy’s bandwagon with regard to tone although wouldn’t be quite as blunt.
    Water under the bridge how about the accolades. Tommy Baldwin was in a word outstanding. That sort of in the moment commentary is exactly what I mean about what we’ve gotten used to. McKennedy as well just outstanding. I’m sure he’ll be glad to know he is now it my top tier of active tour modified drivers. At the tail end of my 7 driver top tier but bumping Silk for the second to last spot. Love Ronnie but his Tour championship is old and he didn’t win a race this year with Moran on his team.
    I gotta have it Mr. Courchesne. Your assessment of the 2023 tour schedule. Comments, a column or Unmuffled gotta have it. The brain trust at NASCAR would be better served working on a timing and scoring system like Race Monitor or the one they used to have rather then expanding the schedule. They could work on getting the results after the races quicker. Sure we know McKennedy is the champion but as of this writing I can’t find the final standings on their site. I type in “2022 Nascar modified final standings” in the Google machine and get old results. But sure expand the schedule. More spec engines and parts to sell. How about quality over quantity?

  11. I actually took that more at me Doug, but you beat me to the reply. You said it much better than I did, but then again, I’m a perpetual smart ass with a deeply cynical viewpoint these days.

    That said, I really need to assume more positive intent… I should have assumed he knew he just climbed out of a modified and not one of the plethora of ladder divisional cars he’s driven over the last 25 years. I should have assumed he really meant these guys are racing for barely break even tow money and not for nuthin’ and just the love of the sport.. and I’ll go further and assume that since Corey (with an e), is such a big name from Cup, his interview didn’t come off as patronizing, but sincere, hell, he probably handed over his cut back to the field since this was just for fun.. Assume as I may, that just because Bono was the crew chief on this ride, that there wasn’t an ounce of cheater technology at play.. I can only hope that Corey and the 53 are at New Smyrna so they can have fun with these modified guys and be part of the lifeblood of the sport..

    Wow, I feel better already.. I think I’ve had a breakthrough..

  12. The tour has been using race monitor for sveral years at this point though.

  13. Zig13,
    The Race Monitor availability is not public.

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