Scott Lagasse Jr., driver of the No. 20 Nicholson Group Ford F-150 makes his second career appearance at the Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. Lagasse talks about how his JTG Racing team is progressing and his goals for this year. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race is scheduled to run Friday, March 7, at 9:00 p.m.
WHAT DID YOU DO ON THE OFF WEEK? "Scott Riefner, the truck chief and I decided we'd take off and go to Daytona for the weekend for Bike Week. Since I live in St. Augustine, which is not too far from Daytona, we stayed there and spent some time with my family. I've never been to Bike Week having lived in Florida my entire life. It was an enjoyable weekend. I borrowed a Harley-Davidson Heritage Springer Softail. I think we went down during the mellow week, which is the first weekend. It was a lot of fun."
ON RACING AT ATLANTA. "I'm ready to race. Our team is making huge gains right now. I think a lot of people are just fine-tuning their stuff and we, Gary [Cogswell, crew chief] and I are learning a lot right now about each other and how to work together. We weren't terrible here at the test, but we weren't where we needed to be. Gary went back to the shop and cut the truck all apart. So, we have the same truck we tested here, but totally different at the same time. I'm really excited to see what it is. Gary never ceases to amaze me. Up to this point, every time he does something, it's right, which is kind of rare. It's neat to me. I tell him what I think and he fixes it."
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY MAKING GAINS? "In all areas, really - in the trucks, in the driver, in communication. Probably the biggest thing is the way the team works together. We started the year out really, really well, better than I expected it to. We're really gelling and Gary and I talk openly and frank and it makes it fun and easy to do that. Anytime things are smooth and together, that's when you find success."
MORE ON CREW CHIEF GARY COGSWELL. "We probably have more communication than most crew chiefs and drivers. He's pretty good about talking through things with me. We're really just trying to catch-up. I don't know these trucks or coil binding very well, so we're trying to learn as much as we can in a short amount of time so we can race for wins, eventually."
WHAT SHOULD THE FANS EXPECT TO SEE IN THE TRUCK RACE TONIGHT? "At Atlanta truck race, the same thing they've always seen - one of the best races of the year. Atlanta Motor Speedway is incredible, to be able to run this fast and run three or four different grooves or three wide. You've seen photo finishes every year, so I expect an exciting race. I love this race track because you can go to so many different places. If there is a spot where the truck does run like you want, you have room to go and search for the groove that works for your truck. You don't need to be on the bottom of the track all the time. Personally, this is one of my favorite race tracks, just for that reason."
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS THIS YEAR? "My goals are the same as every driver and that is to win. That being said, we know we have a long way to go. We know where we want to be and we're working on getting there. We knew where we were at in California. We started the race with probably a 30th place truck and through just a couple of adjustments at the end of the run, we felt like we had at least a top 15 truck. We finished 19th in California because we put ourselves so far behind early in the race. I'd say we were a 15th place truck in California and we just need to continue that progress and improve. Our goals are to improve every week and that's easy to do when you can get in and out of places without any problems. Then the crew can spend time making the trucks better instead of fixing them."
DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED TRACK? SHORT TRACK OR SPEEDWAYS? "I haven't found one type of track that I like more than another. I like the racing and the competition part of the sport. When I look at the race track, if it's going to be a nose-to-tail place, I like it less compared to a place like Atlanta where you're side-by-side racing and fighting the whole time. That's what I enjoy about racing."
-credit: ford racing