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Friday, January 20, 2017

Randy LaJoie #20 Fina / Lance Snacks Ford

    Welcome back once more to the NASCAR Racing Champions blog!~ With over 1,100 cars in my collection, and every single one of them being on display, I didn't really think I'd be making a post on Randy LaJoie any time soon~ I've got so many cars to choose from now, and I never was a fan of the guy~ However, as I sit here in my chair, I constantly see this car, as it's right behind my computer screens... and I've grown to love the look of the car, as well as the card it comes with~

    So in today's post, I'll be going over LaJoie's time in the #20 Fina/Lance Snacks Ford, owned by Dick Moroso, the father of the late Rob Moroso~ Randy first drove this car 15 races into the 1993 BGN season, in the Fram Filter 500K @ Talladega, and continued to do so until he was tabbed to drive the #22 MBNA Pontiac in the Cup series, for Bill Davis Racing~ Let's take a moment to see what the guy was up to, just a couple years away from winning back to back BGN Series championships~

                                                        Randy LaJoie hero card - 1994~
Randy LaJoie #20 Fina Lance Snacks Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN Cup 1994 1993 Dick Moroso #74 age

   As I was saying, LaJoie's first ride in the car was in the Fram Filter 500K @ Talladega, as Joe Ruttman was let go from the team, after 3 races~ Randy took full advantage of the opportunity, starting the race from the third position, and finishing runner up to the man himself, Mr. Dale Earnhardt~ Though he never led a lap in the race, this sure had to be a confidence booster for LaJoie, as well as the entire team~

   The team next raced in the Food City 250 @ Bristol, and LaJoie quickly came down from cloud nine, with a 33rd place qualifying position (in a 34 car field)~ He was caught up in a 6 car accident on lap 52, and then he crashed out on his own a few laps later, ending his day in 32nd place~ Todd Bodine won the race, driving the #34 Fiddle Faddle Chevrolet~

   Up next was the Gatorade 200 @ Darlington, and LaJoie qualified 24th for the event~ As the race was coming to an end, he found himself in second place, but was no match for race winner/Busch whacker Mark Martin~ Still, two runner up finishes in your first three starts with a new team isn't too shabby~ I also forgot to mention this before, but LaJoie was driving Chevrolets and Oldsmobiles at this point~ It wasn't until 1994 that he was driving the Ford, and that was only for his Cup series starts.. the BGN car was a Chevrolet all season long~

                                                   The #20 car on pit road, ready to go~
Randy LaJoie #20 Fina Lance Snacks Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN Cup1994 1993 Dick Moroso #74 age

    LaJoie qualified third for the Autolite 250 @ Richmond, but faded back during the race, and ended up with a 12th place finish~ He finished 12th in the All Pro 200 @ Charlotte, 8th in the AC-Delco 200 @ Rockingham, and ended the season with a 27th place finish in the Slick 50 300 @ Atlanta, after falling victim to ignition issues~ LaJoie would run a full season in the BGN, and 3 races in the Cup series for Moroso in 1994~

    The actual Racing Champions version of this car is from his Cup series starts~ That's the only time he ever drove this car as a Ford~ His first start of the season came in the Coca-Cola 600 @ Charlotte, where he started 27th, and finished 20th, seven laps off the pace of race winner, Jeff Gordon~ This was Gordon's first career victory, and he was memorably emotional in victory lane~

    Randy was back in the Cup series four races later, for the Slick 50 300 @ Loudon, where he qualified in 19th place~ He again wasn't much of a factor throughout the race, and again finished in 20th place~ He would attempt to qualify for the inaugural Brickyard 400, but failed to make the field~ This would be his final Cup start of the season, while driving for Moroso~ He made one final start in T.W. Taylor's #02 Children's Miracle Network Ford, in the Hooters 500 @ Atlanta, where he finished in 19th place~

                                              LaJoie would find success in the BGN series~
Randy LaJoie #20 Fina Lance Snacks Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN Cup1994 1993 Dick Moroso #74 age

    I don't have the space left to write about LaJoie's full 1994 BGN season, so I'm just gonna give you the highlights~  He started 8th in the season opener @ Daytona, and even led four laps, but his engine gave way on lap 87, resulting in a 28th place finish~ He started 23rd in the Goodwrench 200 @ Rockingham, but battled his way to the front, eventually leading fourteen laps, and finishing in 4th place~

   After a 24th place starting position for the Busch Light 300 @ Atlanta, he was able to do much better in the race, where he finished in 7th place~ LaJoie couldn't seem to qualify good in the car, but he was able to find his way to the front by the end of the race~ He qualified 31st for the Miller 500 @ Martinsville, but found his way up to 4th by the drop of the checkered flag~ Moving on to the Mark III Vans 200 @ Darlington, LaJoie had an all around solid weekend, as he qualified 9th, and finished in the 3rd spot~

   Randy qualified 21st for the Sundrop 400 @ Hickory, and finished runner up to Ricky Craven, who dominated the event in his #2 Dupont Refinishes Chevrolet~ Following the conclusion of this race, LaJoie found himself leading the BGN points standings for the first time in his career~ It wouldn't last for long, and he would soon go on a downward spiral that would continue throughout the 1994 season~

                                           LaJoie drove this car in the Cup series in 1995~
Randy LaJoie Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Cup age 1995 MBNA

   When I say he started tanking, I mean.. the Hickory race was the seventh race of the season, and LaJoie would only have two more top 10's for the remainder of the entire season~ One of the few bright spots of the year was when won the pole for the Gatorade 200 @ Darlington, but he ended up finishing 27th for the event~

   He finished 6th in the Split Fire 200 @ Dover, after starting from the 17th position, in a race won by Johnny Benson Jr.~ LaJoie would later win back to back BGN series championships in the #74 car that Benson was driving~ LaJoie's final top 10 of the season came in the season finale AC-Delco 200 @ Rockingham, where he finished in 9th place~ He finished the season with 1 pole, 4 top 5's, and 7 top 10's, while finishing 16th in the final points standings, a career high at that point~

   Randy left the team at the end of the 1994 season to drive full time for Bill Davis Racing in the Cup series, driving the #22 MBNA Pontiac~ He was fired midway through the season, in favor of a trio of drivers, which consisted of Ward Burton, Wally Dallenbach Jr., and Jimmy Hensley~ He would go back to the BGN series and win back to back championships, driving the #74 Fina Chevrolet for Bill Baumgardner~

                                             Randy LaJoie #20 Fina / Lance Snacks Ford~
Randy LaJoie #20 Fina Lance Snacks Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN Cup1994 1993 Dick Moroso #74 age
Click pics to enlarge~
Randy LaJoie #20 Fina Lance Snacks Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN Cup1994 1993 Dick Moroso #74 age

   See what I mean about this car?~ It's pretty awesome looking~ Every little secondary sponsor is there, and this thing is fully loaded!~ In case the secondary sponsors are too small to read, they are Blue Bird Ice Cream, Bull & Hannah's Meat Snacks, Kool-Aid, and Moroso~ I can't tell what they thing is on the side post, but it is some kind of bottle, perhaps a bottle of water~

   I'm easily giving this car an A+ on the Racing Champions quality scale~ It's an awesome car, and it's also sad to think that this would have been Rob Moroso's Busch whacker machine, or would they have hired someone else to drive it, and develop into a two car Cup team eventually?~ I guess we'll never know the answer to that, since Rob and Dick are both dead now~ 

   Thanks for stopping by the blog again!~ Please share this post on social media, and click the "follow" button at the top of the page here, on the right hand side~ Below is the bonus car for this post, along with some videos of Randy LaJoie throughout his career~ Enjoy, and I'll see ya' next time, right here at the NASCAR Racing Champions Blog!~ :)

         **Bonus car** Jeff McClure #27 Showcase Racing Collectibles/Race For Life Oldsmobile~
Jeff McClure #27 Showcase Racing Collectibles Race For Life Oldsmobile Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Matchbox

McClure drove this car during his only Winston Cup start, in the 1992 Champion Spark Plug 400 @ Michigan~ He started 39th, and finished in 31st, in a race won by the legendary Harry Gant~ A Matchbox version of this car was made, and so I copied the logos from it, and put them on this Racing Champions body in Photoshop~ 


                                                   Randy Lajoie 1984 Daytona flip/crash~

                               1999 NAPA Auto Parts 300~ Lajoie win~ Filmed with a potato~

                                                     Randy LaJoie - My first 500~

                                                    Randy LaJoie flips - Talladega 1995~



   

  

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