Corey LaJoie won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Greenville Pickens Speedway in South Carolina, but the post-race inspection might have cost him the series championship.
Corey LaJoie wins NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Greenville Pickens Speedway
The race was supposed to run on Sept. 3, but it was cancelled and rescheduled because of rain. LaJoie had to start from the back of the field because he was late to a driver's meeting when the race was originally scheduled.
Corey LaJoie at Greenville Pickens Speedway for NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race
Still, LaJoie worked his way through the field, took the lead on lap 146 during a green-white-checkered flag finish in the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140, and won the race leading the last lap of the race.
It was his fifth win of the season and his third in the past four races.
But after the race, track inspectors found an unapproved carburetor in his engine. LaJoie was penalized and lost 25 points in the K&N Pro Series East standings.
He went from having a six-point lead heading into the season finale at Rockingham Speedway in North Carolina to being 19 points out of first place and in third place in the K&N Pro Series East standings.
LaJoie took the lead on the final lap of the race after Brett Moffitt made contact with him in turn 3.
LaJoie still has a shot at the K&N Pro Series East championship. But he will have to overtake rookie Kyle Larson, who leads the standings, and Brett Moffitt.
Rain was a factor again in the race at Greenville Pickens. The start was delayed and the race took 1 hour, 13 minutes to complete.
Brett Moffitt, who started on the pole, led the first 144 laps of the race. On the final restart, he was in the lead and made contact with LaJoie in turn 3 on the final lap of the race. LaJoie made the pass, but Moffitt lost control and started a chain-reaction crash.
"I thought we had a pretty good run on him on the high side after the restart," LaJoie said. "Went down into one and he rubbed me up into Spartanburg. He got clear on the backstretch, I was like screw you right back. So I went down there to give it to him. Got him loose, got him out of the groove and got the checker."
Chase Elliott made it through to finish in second place. Rookie Jesse Little posted his best career finish in the K&N Pro Series East in third place.
"The restart right after, I don't think I would have been able to make it through," Little said. "I followed him through and luckily we were able to make it out of there safely."
Moffitt ended up in ninth place after dominating the field the entire night.
Larson, who entered the race as the leader in the K&N Pro Series standings, was fourth. He was followed by Brandon Gdovic in fifth.
Larson has a 10-point lead over Moffitt, who is in second place in the K&N Pro Series East standings. Elliott is still mathematically in contention, 30 points out of first place and in fourth place in the championship standings. Rookie Bryan Ortiz, winless in 13 K&N Pro Series races this year, is in fifth place in the standings, 45 points behind Larson.
"We're going to do the exact same thing if we were up by 50 or down by 50," LaJoie said. "Worry about ourselves, don't worry about anybody else and be in position when the checkered flag drops."
The K&N Pro Series East finale, the Classic 3 Championship presented by the RCR Racing Museum, will be at Rockginham Speedway on Nov. 3.
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