The Callahan Report: LaJoie Wins MIS IROC Event; Mark Martin Is Champ, Again
27 July 1997BROOKLYN, MI: NASCAR drivers are the kings of IROC once again. The 50 lap dash at Michigan International Speedway today produced some records. Randy LaJoie, the winner today, became the first Busch Grand National driver to win an IROC event. Mark Martin became the first ever three time champion in the 21 year history of the series.
LaJoie said "I just wanted to beat Terry Labonte and Jeff Gordon to get in the top five. Winning and puts me in the top three." The victory was worth $50,000 to LaJoie. He knew he was with the best drivers in the world today. "Any time you get to change hats for pictures you know you've had a good day," LaJoie said.
LaJoie began racing go-karts at the age of 12 in Connecticut. He advanced to modified sportsman cars in 1980. He was successful in that series as he second in the division. LaJoie was the rookie of the year on the NASCAR North Tour in 1983 with two wins and wound up fourth in the points. He ran his first Winston Cup race in 1985 and Busch Grand National event in 1986. His racing career took off in 1994. He drove in all but one BGN event that year, finishing 16th in points. LaJoie made 14 Winston Cup starts in 1995 but returned to BGN at mid season. He was the series champion last year.
Mark Martin was elated with his record third championship. "This is the greatest accomplishment of my career," said Martin. "It could only be topped by a Winston Cup championship."
Today's championship for Martin was his third in the last four years of the series. Martin's accomplishment makes him a standout as possibly one of the best drivers in the world. The IROC series includes drivers from all types of motorsports in identically prepared Pontiacs.