Corey LaJoie Takes the Checkered Flag at the K&N Pro Series Race at Bowman in North Carolina

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Corey LaJoie takes the checkered flag.
Corey LaJoie takes the checkered flag.
After years of runner-up finishes and near-misses, Corey LaJoie won the first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race of his career at Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina and made a huge jump in the East Series standings. LaJoie etched his name next to NASCAR legends Richard Petty and Tim Flock, previous winners at Bowman Gray Stadium. "It's awesome and it's an elite group of people," La Joie said. "I have a long, long, long way to go to catch up to the prestige of those guys. I'm just happy to get into Victory Lane once."

The 20 year-old son of two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Randy LaJoie was second at Bowman Gray Stadium in last year's K&N Pro Series race at the track. He had three runner-up finishes in his career racing in the K&N Pro Series East. "It took a long time to get to this point," LaJoie said. "The Lord gives a lot of trials to, I think, build my faith to come to this moment and be strong with my faith. I'm just so blessed and grateful to be here talking with you guys."
Corey LaJoie and his team celebrating their victory.
Corey LaJoie and his team celebrating their victory.

Rookie Kyle Larson won the pole and led 35 of the first 36 laps of the race. LaJoie, who started the race on the front row with Larson, led the first lap of the race. Larson passed LaJoie on the second lap and held the lead until lap 36. LaJoie regain the lead on lap 37 and was out front for the remainder of the race, including a green-white-checkered flag finish. "When that caution came and the green-white-checkered, I was like, 'Oh no, same song and dance here,'" LaJoie said. "'I'm going to be on the right side of it this year, not on the wrong side.'"
Corey LaJoie being presented with the 1st place trophy.
Corey LaJoie being presented with the 1st place trophy.

There were 10 yellow flag cautions and one red flag caution period in the race. Chase Elliott spun out in turn 4 with five laps to go in the race and set up the green-white-checkered flag finish. Darrell Wallace Jr. was second in the NASCAR Hall of Fame 150. "It's definitely been up and down for us," Wallace said. "We already got our win out of the way. It's Bowman Gray-style racing there. It was a hard-fought battle from lap one to lap 150."

Rookie Bryan Ortiz, a driver from Puerto Rico, was third, the first podium finish of his K&N Pro Series East career. "It wasn't a win, but it was a good step forward for me," Ortiz said. "I'm very, very happy for today."

Rookie Harrison Rhodes was fourth, followed by Larson in fifth. Elliott, the leader in the K&N Pro Series East standings, was sixth. He has 16-point lead over LaJoie in the K&N Pro Series East standings after five races. LaJoie moved up from fifth to second place in the East Series standings after the Bowman Gray race.

There have been five different winners in the five K&N Pro Series East races this year. Elliott recorded his fifth top-10 finish of the season. LaJoie has three top-five finishes in five races.

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