RPM Signs Corey LaJoie

Corey LaJoie

"It’s cool that somebody takes notice and invest in me and, hopefully, push me to the next level." (Photo: Getty Images)

Richard Petty Motorsports has signed a development deal with Corey LaJoie and plans on putting the 21-year-old in a few Nationwide races later this season and running a full series schedule next year, pending sponsorship.

“It definitely takes a lot of weight off my shoulders,’’ LaJoie told Motor Racing Network on Saturday morning. “We’ve been working so hard on a shoe-string budget. It’s cool that somebody takes notice and invest in me and, hopefully, push me to the next level. I’m really excited to be a part of their family.’’

LaJoie, son of two-time Nationwide champion Randy LaJoie, has run a limited schedule with his family’s operation this season. He’d run only two NASCAR K&N Pro Series races this season before getting a chance to race in Saturday night’s K&N Pro Series East race at Bowman-Gray Stadium and defend last year’s win.

LaJoie won five of 14 K&N Pro Series East races last year and finished second in the points.

LaJoie said he plans to run a few ARCA races later this year and will receive engines, technical support and a pit crew from RPM. His first ARCA race likely will be next month at Chicagoland Speedway.

LaJoie admitted he wondered at times if he would get such a chance with being 21. The first four starters in Friday’s Camping World Truck Series, for example, featured drivers all under the age of 21.

“I’m 21 years old and I feel like the old guy,’’ LaJoie said. “I just wanted to get one opportunity and I can make the most of it.’’

His dad also is excited.

“It’s going to be fun,’’ Randy LaJoie told Motor Racing Network. “To know he’s going to get the opportunity with the King. Does it get any better? Pinch me.’’

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