Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 9 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports in this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway, the team announced Tuesday.
LaJoie replaces Chase Elliott for Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300 (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Elliott was suspended by NASCAR on Tuesday after intentionally wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Driving the No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet full time, LaJoie sits 20th in points with one top-five finish this season, a fourth-place effort at Atlanta Motor Speedway. LaJoie is having a career year in 2023, boasting a 19.1 average finish through 14 races, tracking to beat his previous best of 24.3 by more than five positions per race.
Carson Hocevar will fill in for LaJoie at Gateway in the No. 7 Chevrolet.
LaJoie becomes the fourth driver this season in the No. 9 Chevrolet, a car that has finished second twice this year – once with Elliott in February at Auto Club Speedway and again with Josh Berry behind the wheel in April at Richmond Raceway.
Elliott missed six races earlier this season after suffering a broken leg in a snowboarding accident in March. Berry competed in the five oval races Elliott missed while Jordan Taylor piloted the machine at Circuit of The Americas to a 24th-place finish.
LaJoie’s nearest brush with victory came in July 2022 at Atlanta, when his No. 7 car was running second on the final lap. His move to the outside was blocked by race leader Elliott, who went onto win the event.
Elliott is set to return to the No. 9 Chevrolet for the NASCAR Cup Series race on June 11 at Sonoma Raceway.