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April 12, 2023

Grit and grind: Randy LaJoie named to NASCAR 75 Greatest Drivers list

Randy LaJoie is a man of many legacies. There’s the racer. The champion. The champion (again). The seat builder. The father.

Add another to the list: The all-timer.

A two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, LaJoie has been named to the list of NASCAR 75 Greatest Drivers.

Naming the 75 Greatest Drivers is a continuation of the popular program established in 1998 recognizing the 50 Greatest Drivers for NASCAR’s golden anniversary. There are 25 new names added over the coming weeks as NASCAR celebrates 75 years of history.

RELATED: NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers list grows

And the exclusive, blue-ribbon panel voted LaJoie in.

Perhaps the only thing more special than the honor itself was the manner in which LaJoie was informed — by his son Corey LaJoie, driver of the No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet.

“I got chills,” Randy LaJoie said after being surprised. “Damn, that’s cool. That’s way cool. You don’t wake up when you’re 10 years old and racing go-karts and think you’re going to get something like this.

“That’s pretty damn badass,” LaJoie added, his voice trembling as he wiped the water from his eyes.

LaJoie is one of nine drivers to win two championships in what is now known as the Xfinity Series, and he’s one of five to win two titles consecutively. He accomplished that feat in 1996 and 1997, the first driver to do so. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1998-99), Martin Truex Jr. (2004-05), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2011-12) and Tyler Reddick (2018-19) would follow.

Both titles came on the strength of five wins and in driving the No. 74 Bill Baumgardner Chevrolet. LaJoie led the series in victories during his 1996 championship year. His encore title run in 1997 included wins at both Daytona International Speedway and Darlington Raceway.

Before his Xfinity Series title runs, LaJoie raced three seasons in the NASCAR North Tour. He won 10 times, including — you guessed it — five times in 1985 en route to the series championship. Now, he’s known for running The Joie of Seating company, where he’s the go-to in the industry for racing seat safety.

His on-track legacy of being a “Saturday guy” as Corey LaJoie dubbed it on the Stacking Pennies podcast never bothered Randy, who won in go-karts in his native Connecticut to launch his racing career.

“A champion is a champion,” Randy LaJoie said. “I was a champion in the division I was in. You have to act like a champion, and it’s a totally different ballgame. … The relationships you build through your championship years never go away.”

MORE: Hear LaJoie’s reaction on Stacking Pennies