Another Solid Finish for the America's Incredible Pizza Company Race Team at Kentucky (June 13, 2009) Sparta, KY - The NASCAR Nationwide Series made their way to the "Bluegrass State" over the weekend to compete in the Meijer 300. The America's...
Another Solid Finish for the America's Incredible Pizza Company Race Team at Kentucky
(June 13, 2009) Sparta, KY - The NASCAR Nationwide Series made their way to the "Bluegrass State" over the weekend to compete in the Meijer 300. The America's Incredible Pizza Company race team looked to run a competitive race and continue their climb back into the point standings. Lagasse Jr. battled against the changing track conditions, endured eight caution flags and a red flag scenario to finish out the night in the 13th position.
The stakes were high as Kentucky is known to give drivers their first win and an added $50,000 was on the line as the "Dash 4 Cash" program returned. Lagasse Jr. has had some success at the mile-and-a-half facility (ASA win in 2004) and was hoping his experience would prove beneficial as the green flag dropped Saturday night.
After some promising results the week prior at Nashville, the America's Incredible Pizza Company race team was looking forward to entering the second consecutive stand-alone event at Kentucky Speedway. Happy with the way the chassis performed in Nashville, the team also made a last minute switch and opted to bring the same car to Kentucky.
Two late day practice sessions got underway on Friday and the team worked hard to get the handling of the No. 11 Toyota Camry under control. The first session placed the America's Incredible Pizza Company Toyota in the 22nd position. As the sun began to set and the track conditions became more conducive to race conditions, Lagasse Jr. picked up speed and was able to place the No. 11 machine in the third position at the close of final practice.
Day two at the track consisted of qualifying and then a 200-lap shootout amongst 70,000 die-hard NASCAR fans.
In addition to the on-track happenings, Lagasse Jr. was busy promoting the Nationwide Series making appearances at the display area and also promoting a great cause called the "Blessings in Backpacks" campaign. With the help of the teams sponsor, America's Incredible Pizza Company, 46 backpacks were donated to the cause. The effort was honored in the pre-race ceremonies prior to the start of the race.
Back on the track, the No. 11 posted the 15th quickest qualifying speed for the "Dash 4 Cash" under the lights.
The fans rose to their feet and 43-cars competed for a top spot in the field. Lagasse Jr. advanced a couple positions before reporting in a free handling condition. Help came swiftly as the America's Incredible Pizza Company Toyota was brought down pit road under caution on lap 24 for four tires, fuel and a slight air pressure adjustment.
Back to green flag racing, the loose in handling concerns continued as the track conditions continued to shift. The team did their best to find a happy balance as a total of five pit stops were made throughout the evening. Track bar and air pressure adjustments were key in keeping up with the changing behavior.
By the midway point, the No. 11 found itself sitting in the 15th position.
The remainder of the race would not see much fluctuation for the America's Incredible Pizza Company race team. Consistent lap times fell into place and Lagasse Jr. stayed out of any on track melee to bring the 2009 Toyota Camry across the start/finish line in the 13th position.
"It was tough out there to find the right balance. The guys did a great job of making the car better after each stop," explained Lagasse Jr. "We are looking to make consistent runs each and every week and I think we're on the right path now."
Up next: the Milwaukee Mile.