NASCAR: LaJoie capitalizes on Blaney miscue to take ARCA race
By Tina Akouris firstname.lastname@example.org July 21, 2013 9:18PM
Corey LaJoie celebrates with his crew after winning the ARCA auto race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Sunday, July 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Updated: August 23, 2013 6:22AM
It was Ryan Blaney’s race to win, but a miscalculation on fuel mileage moved him from first place down to third.
Instead of heading to Victory Lane, Blaney finished third and had to watch Corey LaJoie take advantage of his team’s error. LaJoie won the ARCA Ansell Activ/Armr 150 Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway, in only his second ARCA series start.
“Every race you win is your biggest one,” LaJoie said. “I just want to race every weekend and I’m thankful for the opportunities and I hope I get more. It’s hard to stay fresh when you’re not in the race car.”
But Blaney wasn’t the only one with fuel problems. Justin Boston was leading with two laps to go when he ran out of gas and LaJoie passed him.
Blaney’s gas problem came with about seven laps to go. It was a particularly crushing blow for Blaney, since he struggled with a loose race car early.
“I was saving a ton of fuel — saving as much as you could save,” Blaney said. “We just missed it there. Our strategy was to go all the way. We knew (the mileage) in practice and we determined how many miles per gallon we could go. We just missed that calculation.”
Josh Williams finished second. Unlike Blaney, Williams’ fuel calculations in practice weren’t that far off.
“We tried to save a much as possible and it worked out in our favor,” Williams said. “We could have won, but we missed it by a little bit. We had really good fuel mileage (in practice) and we took a swing at it and it ended up working.”
Nine-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel was going for his 80th career victory, which would have put him atop the series’ all-time win list. But Kimmel finished ninth and is still tied with Iggy Katona. Kimmel remains the series points leader.