NASCAR: Corey Lajoie to make Cup debut; ARCA’s Boston to drive 2 N’Wide races for Gibbs

0 Comments

Richard Petty Motorsports development driver Corey Lajoie (pictured, celebrating his 2013 ARCA win at Chicagoland Speedway) will be making his Sprint Cup debut this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the small Randy Humphrey Racing team.

RPM has not been able to generate sponsorship to run the son of two-time Nationwide Series champion Randy Lajoie often in 2014. He’s only competed in one Nationwide race and two Camping World Truck Series races this season.

“I’ve got to make my own path,’’ Lajoie said to Motor Racing Network’s Dustin Long. “Maybe start from the bottom and work my way up.

“I thought I would be in this point four years ago, but God’s plans are always going to prevail and you’ve got to go along with it and trust that it is the right one.’’

Randy Humphrey Racing recently gave Red Bull Global Rallycross pilot Nelson Piquet Jr. his first Sprint Cup ride last month at Watkins Glen.

Lajoie won three times in five ARCA starts last year, including the aforementioned Chicagoland win and two more at Pocono and Kentucky.

Speaking of Kentucky, that’s where current ARCA driver Justin Boston will be making his Nationwide debut this weekend. And he’ll have a solid ride under him, too.

Boston will drive the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in Saturday’s race at Kentucky and also in next weekend’s Nationwide race at Dover International Speedway. Sprint Cup driver Matt Kenseth has driven the majority of this year’s Nationwide events in the No. 20 car.

“Our goals are to compete and run all the laps in both of our Nationwide Series starts, plain and simple,” said Boston in a release. “As far as being anxious, it hasn’t really hit me yet.

“If anything, knowing that I get to work with everyone on the No. 20 team is reassuring since they’re such a strong team and I’m excited to see what we can do together.”

Boston has won twice this year in the ARCA series at Toledo and Madison.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

2 Comments

Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.