History is a big part of racing, and the history of short track racing runs deep. At certain points during the year, Speed51 will use our new “Throwback Thursday” segment to look back on some of the biggest stories from years past. During each edition of Throwback Thursday, we will revisit stories previously published on Speed51.
For today’s Throwback Thursday feature, we look back on a night when current NASCAR Cup Series driver Corey LaJoie shocked the Modified world at Atlanta.
2010 – You have to preform on the big stage and sometimes that stage is right in front of the NASCAR Cup Series. That was the case for Corey LaJoie at Atlanta Motor Speedway on the night of March 5, 2010. LaJoie was running a Hillbilly Racing Modified on the infield oval at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and he needed to make himself known.
Bowman Gray Stadium legend Tim Brown dominated the middle stages of the event before LaJoie rose to the occasion and battled Brown for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour win. The two traded the lead while battling in lapped traffic before LaJoie captured the unlikely victory in a photo finish.
“That race was one of my favorite in my career,” LaJoie told Speed51. “It was the first time I’d ever driven a NASCAR Modified and I was only two months removed from a car crash that I had a major concussion and a fractured pelvis. I was in a little pain throughout the race but once the adrenaline got pumping that was the last thing on my mind. The dashboard in the car came loose so I was essentially driving with one hand holding the switches and gauges up.”
To this date, it was the only win for LaJoie in a Modified, as well as the only race for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour at Atlanta before the series consolidated with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
LaJoie used the victory to help him get to the NASCAR K&N Series where he showed more promise in a tight championship battle with Brett Moffitt and Kyle Larson.
Other Dates of Note
1950 – Red Byron won the third Modified race of the season at Charlotte Speedway (NC) in what is now a gas station near Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.
1977 – Larry Pearson won a Baby Grand race at Rockingham. Pearson won four times in his career in the Baby Grands at Rockingham. This was his second victory.
2006 – Ryan Crane wins the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway. Some might not know this was the first time the race was run at the 250-lap distance. It’s been a 250-lap race ever since. Ricky Turner was second, followed by the late Charlie Bradberry, Casey Smith and Bubba Pollard.
2016 – The late Bryan Clauson wins the 2016 Sokola Classic at Perris Auto Speedway (CA). He started sixth and took the lead on lap 12 in the 30-lap event.
Editor’s Note: Most dates are on our selected date, however there is the rare occasion where information may have been misleading to the actual race date. Exploring history is the main goal of these pieces and remembering the past.
-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Stat Boy
-Photo credit: NASCAR via Getty Images