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The Joie of Safety

Randy LaJoie

Randy LaJoie enjoyed success early and often in his racing career.

Many of you fine readers have likely heard of the race seat company, The Joie of Seating. Furthermore, most of you are probably aware that the business is led by racing veteran, Randy LaJoie.

However, during a recent conversation with a young racer it blatantly occurred to me that not everyone truly knows who Randy LaJoie is. Nor do they know that his deep roots as a champion-racer, ultimately led to his pursuit of building the safest race seats available.

As a result, I decided to put together a quick-hitting piece on this great man and his vision for driver safety.

LaJoie first got his taste of racing back in 1973 at the tender age of 12. You see, back then, you had to be at least 12-years-old to race even a Go-Kart.

After four successful years in the Karting ranks around his Norwalk, Connecticut home, LaJoie was forced to take a two-year sabbatical from racing.

The reason you might ask? Young racers, take a seat because you might be blown away by this fact.

Back then, you had to vacate Go-Karts by the age of 16, but you weren’t allowed to race full-sized cars until you were 18. My, oh my how the times have changed.

Randy’s racing career hit the fast-forward button once he hit the pavement ranks. He moved from Modifieds to the NASCAR North Series in 1984, and by 1985 he was the series champion.

Three years later he moved south, where he was presented with a brief opportunity to pilot an entry with the NASCAR Busch Series. It would be there that he got a cold-dose of reality in the NASCAR world.

“I learned pretty quick that in the top level of racing you could get bought of a ride in a heartbeat,” LaJoie painfully reminisces. “That’s exactly what happened to me, but I knew it was where I wanted to ultimately be, so I gritted my teeth and dug in.”

Joie of Seating seat

Randy and his Joie of Seating staff take great pride in producing the safest and most comfortable seats possible.

Working any-and-all jobs that he could find, LaJoie stayed relevant and afloat in the heart of NASCAR country.

“I did everything from fabricating cars to driving the trucks to spotting for teams,” LaJoie recollects. “It wasn’t a glamourous lifestyle, but I found a way to survive until my golden opportunity arose.”

In 1993 LaJoie received a great offer. Dick Moroso contacted the hungry 30-year-old racer with an offer he couldn’t refuse.

“They needed a driver for a few races in the NASCAR Busch Series, and asked if I was interested,” LaJoie notes. “Of course I was and luckily we enjoyed success almost immediately.”

After finishing second to Dale Earnhardt at Talladega Super Speedway and in the runner-up position to Mark Martin at Darlington Speedway LaJoie became a fixture in the team’s seat for the next two years.

He would go on to move to BACE Motorsports, where he claimed the NASCAR Busch Series championships in 1996 and 1997.

Randy LaJoie 1

Randy LaJoie claimed the NASCAR Busch championship in 1996 and 1997.

While enjoying success on the track, LaJoie also began building seats on the side, and by 1998 his company, the Joie of Seating was official formed.

“Early on I started building seats because nobody else was really fabricating both a comfortable and a safe seat,” LaJoie recalls. “Business really started to take off though, when one day Sammy Swindell asked if I could build a seat like I was running in my NASCAR entry for his Sprint Car.”

As LaJoie’s company began to grow he began to do more research on what could be done to improve the safety of both the seats and the harnesses.

In 2001 the untimely passing of Dale Earnhardt ignited a fire inside of the personable LaJoie.

“I’d say 99.7% of short track drivers don’t pay enough attention to safety. Honestly, I didn’t pay as much attention to safety as I should have until we lost Dale Earnhardt. It’s too bad it took his passing, as well as five or six others in the top NASCAR levels, but we now realize we don’t want any more injuries or deaths in racecars.”

LaJoie’s company is now the only seat manufacturer to stamp aluminum to fit driver’s rear ends, which adds more comfort inside the car. As the company approaches its 20th anniversary in 2018, they continue to offer lifetime warranties on their seats.

Nineteen years after founding his company, LaJoie’s racing days are long behind him, but his passion for safety is stronger than ever.

“So many times I see guys spending every penny they can on every aspect of their car, while electing to skimp by on the safety measures, and that’s very sad,” LaJoie comments. “Since the beginning my goal has been to create seats that allow you to walk away from wrecks. My company is not price driven. We are racer safety driven.”

Hopefully this quick history lesson gives many of you folks a better understanding of just who Randy LaJoie truly is as well as the mission with which he operates his company.

His position on making safety every racer’s top priority is definitely something to ponder.

Source: The Joie of Seating, joieofseating.com


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  • CURT ANDREWS says:
    August 31, 2017 at 11:46 am

    I guess I can understand a kid these days not knowing Randy Lajoie was a “wheel man” and a NASCAR champ. However since Randy and I are about the same age, when I was a kid into racing I still knew who the Widenhouses, Flocks,Johnson’s etc were. I bet Randy did also!!

    Reply

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