Rain Racing Prowess earns Corey LaJoie 4th Annual Little 600 Victory at GoPro Motorplex
Although heavy rains fell for the majority of the day, rain could not ruin tonight’s 4th Annual Little 600 go-kart race at GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville, NC. The consistent rain showers that stopped just prior to the feature event didn’t dampen the spirits of the hundreds of NASCAR fans in attendance for the fan-favorite Little 600 go-kart race, featuring some of NASCAR’s biggest names.
Rain and wet track conditions actually improved the racing action on track as the star-studded entry list of NASCAR drivers, including Joey Logano, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Michael McDowell were challenged to improvise and overcome the wet track conditions that they are not typically used to competing in. However, GoPro Motorplex’s fleet of rental go-karts are built to perform in the rain, giving drivers the opportunity to fine-tune their rain racing skills.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series series driver, Corey LaJoie proved his rain racing prowess to take home the 2017 Little 600 victory and most importantly the bragging rights.
“I look like I just went through a swamp, but man, did I have a lot of fun,” said a mud-soaked Corey LaJoie. “Anytime us drivers strap on a helmet, whether we are racing tricycles or bicycles, we are competitive. So, we are all just thankful that Justin Marks and his staff at GoPro Motorplex put on this event for us to have a little fun with no pressure and just bragging rights on the line. This will definitely give me some momentum going into this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.”
An annual tradition, the Little 600 featured free admission and a format that allowed fans to watch their favorite NASCAR drivers compete in three heat races that would set the grid for the final, 15-lap main event under the lights. Other entertainment during the evening included a race among NASCAR Spotters as well as a Future Stars race with karters as young as eight years old competing for their chance in the spotlight. In addition, the event was also broadcast via free live video stream on FansChoice.TV for NASCAR fans to view around the world.
During Heat One, heavy rains fell, completely soaking the racing surface just in time for the NASCAR drivers to strap into their karts. Joey Logano secured the Heat One win after LaJoie spun in Turn Six. However, LaJoie redeemed himself and rallied to score the Heat Two win.
The field of NASCAR drivers were gridded based on how they finished in their heat races for the race that fans in attendance were anxiously waiting for; the 15-Lap feature event.
Luckily, the rain completely stopped just prior to the feature event, allowing for brief opening ceremonies before the green flag flew. Logano started on the pole and was certainly favorited to win, but it was Michael McDowell who was absolutely putting on a clinic in the wet track conditions. With two laps to go, McDowell had created a lengthy lead over second place of Logano and LaJoie in third. A competition caution was the last thing that McDowell wanted to see, stacking the field up back to his bumper to create a five-lap shootout.
On the restart, LaJoie took the lead, knocking McDowell to second. Logano wasted no timing, promptly spinning McDowell into the mud. However, less than a lap later, Logano spun around to take himself out of contention for the win. This allowed LoJoie to stroll away with the Little 600 victory, followed by Justin Allgaier in second and 2016 Little 600 winner, Darrell Wallace, Jr. to complete the final spot on the podium in third.
2017 Little 600 Results>>
If bragging rights are a big deal to NASCAR drivers, they are an even bigger deal to NASCAR spotters who only get the chance to get behind the wheel and race a few times a year. The close-knit group of NASCAR spotters always put on a show on the race track that is almost as big as their trash-talking game. Usually stuck atop the track for the weekend, the Spotters’ Race is a way for them to be in the spotlight, and for many, get back to their racing roots. This year, it was Josh Williams (Spotter for Ryan Blaney) who earned the bragging rights with the feature win. Coleman Pressley (Spotter for AJ Allmendinger) finished in second and Doug Campbell (Spotter for Michael McDowell) finished in third.
Spotters’ Race Results>>
Future Stars Race:
Although most of the drivers were just eight years old, the IAME Swift Future Stars race didn’t disappoint with 8-year-old driver, William Robusto, scoring the victory. The IAME Swift division competes regularly throughout the year in GoPro Motorplex’s Karting Challenge club series. The field truly proved they were talented well beyond their years. Robusto impressed the crowd by leading from flag-to-flag, but certainly not without competition as the top-three all ran nose-to-tail. Robusto held off Brent Crews to score the win. Rounding out the Future Stars podium was Jacob Graham in second and Brewer Davis in third.
Future Stars Results>>
GoPro Motorplex encourages NASCAR fans in town for the Coca-Cola 600 to visit their complex to race the same 55 mph Adult Rental Karts (Ages 16+) that the NASCAR drivers enjoyed racing in the Little 600. For Rental Kart Pricing and more information, please visit their website gopromotorplex.com.
Be sure to check back next May for GoPro Motorplex’s 5th Annual Little 600.
Little 600 Photo Gallery>>
*Photos courtesy of Natalee Susan Photography.