NASCAR: Corey Lajoie set for four-race run in No. 98 Nationwide Series car

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A few weeks after making his Sprint Cup debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Corey Lajoie is now set for a four-race run in the Nationwide Series driving the No. 98 Biagi-DenBeste Racing Ford.

Lajoie, a Richard Petty Motorsports development driver, will contest the upcoming Nationwide races at Kansas Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, and Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The No. 98 has been run in 11 Nationwide races this season, including two of the last three with RPM Sprint Cup driver Aric Almirola at the controls.

Lajoie drove the No. 98 himself this summer at Kentucky Speedway and finished 16th. He hopes that the new deal with Biagi-DenBeste will further his limited experience on high-speed ovals.

“I have to thank both RPM and Biagi-DenBenste Racing for giving me the opportunity to put four races together in the Nationwide Series,” said LaJoie in a statement. “This is a very good car with good people supporting it. They are a proven team that is capable of finishing in the Top-Five.

“These races will be another great opportunity to advance my learning curve on the bigger tracks and with cars with more horsepower.”

Said Biagi-Denbeste co-owner Fred Biagi: “Corey has shown that he learns very quickly on the track. Our first race together we finished 16th in only his second Nationwide Series start.

“We feel that we can compete in the Top-10 and Top-Five in these four races with Corey and that’s our goal.”

A lack of sponsorship has helped keep Lajoie to limited action this season across the NASCAR national series: The aforementioned sole outings in Sprint Cup and Nationwide plus two appearances in the Camping World Truck Series.

But now that he has a multi-race pact with the Biagi-DenBeste group, expect Lajoie to do all he can to impress during the tail end of the Nationwide calendar.

Attention NASCAR teams: IMSA drivers available for Daytona!

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NASCAR will be making its debut on the Daytona International Speedway road course next month, and there’s a big fan who’d like to join the historic weekend.

This fan actually has impressive credentials, too — a few thousand laps around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile layout that annually plays host to the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

In 2014, the winning GTLM team in the sports car endurance classic included IMSA Porsche driver Nick Tandy, who rabidly has followed NASCAR for more than 30 years since growing up in England.

So why not try racing NASCAR? Especially because Tandy has the weekend of Aug. 14-16 free.

He’s not picky, either — offering up his services on Twitter (as well as those of Porsche teammate Earl Bamber) for an ARCA, Xfinity, trucks or Cup ride.

Tandy’s affinity for American stock-car racing runs deep.

His first trip to the World Center of Racing was as a fan attending the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2008. During Rolex testing in January, Tandy, 35, said he hadn’t missed a Cup race on TV in 15 years.

Among his favorite NASCAR drivers: the Earnhardts, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. When IMSA ran the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2014, Tandy stayed a few extra days at the Brickyard and bought Kyle Busch gear for himself and his children.

He briefly took the stage during a NASCAR weekend last October. After IMSA’s season finale at Road Atlanta, Tandy made a few demonstration laps and a burnout in his No. 911 Porsche before the Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

He also has some experience in stock cars, having raced Modified-type grass-roots series on England’s quarter-mile short tracks.

Couple that with a Daytona road course record that includes two consecutive podium class finishes (including last Saturday) and a sports car resume with 13 IMSA victories and an overall win in the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans … and maybe a NASCAR team should take a look.

And Tandy isn’t the only IMSA driver who likely would be available.

Corvette driver Jordan Taylor, who won the 2017 Rolex 24 overall title with Jeff Gordon as a teammate (and the inspiration for his Rodney Sandstrom persona), also tweeted his availability for the weekend on the high banks.

Sports car veteran Andy Lally, a GTD driver with multiple class wins in the Rolex 24 as well as 38 Cup starts (he was the 2011 rookie of the season in NASCAR’s premier series), also hung out his shingle.

There also is AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Jack Hawksworth (who just won at Daytona last Saturday), the Englishman who teamed with Kyle Busch at the Rolex 24 in January and made an Xfinity start at Mid-Ohio last year with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Many sports car drivers (such as Taylor) already live in Florida, and many are hunkering down in the Sunshine State with IMSA returning to action at Daytona last week and Sebring International Raceway next week. Because of COVID-19-related travel concerns and restrictions, several IMSA stars who live outside the country are riding out the pandemic within a few hours of Daytona with nothing to do.

Why not a weekend at the World Center of Racing?

Over the years, scads of “road-course ringers” (including some Formula One veterans) have tried their hands in stock cars at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

How about considering the many sports car drivers who already have reached victory lane at Daytona by making a few right-hand turns, too?