The America's Incredible Pizza Company Race Team Rebounds After an Early Race Penalty; Finishes 11th (June 6, 2009) Lebanon, Tenn. - The America's Incredible Pizza Company race team was looking forward to coming back to Nashville Superspeedway...
The America's Incredible Pizza Company Race Team Rebounds After an Early Race Penalty; Finishes 11th
(June 6, 2009) Lebanon, Tenn. - The America's Incredible Pizza Company race team was looking forward to coming back to Nashville Superspeedway and redeeming themselves from a rough couple of weeks at the track. The desire to excel was apparent from the start as the team had a season high qualifying effort and then rebounded from a pit road penalty on lap 68 to finish out the evening in the 11th position.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule is in full swing as teams entered into race 13 of the 2009 season at Nashville. Nashville also marks the first track on the schedule teams have gone to twice. Just two months prior, the America's Incredible Pizza Company race team visited the 1.33-mile concrete facility and finished 10th. With hopes of having the same results, the team unloaded the same chassis on Friday morning.
The America's Incredible Pizza Company Toyota was fast right from the start as the No. 11 was displayed in the fifth position during the first practice session. Minor adjustments were made heading into final practice and Lagasse Jr. found himself in the top-10 again with a 30.155 second lap, 159.138 mph.
Saturday afternoon was a beautiful day for a race. The sun was shining and the temperatures hovered in the lower 80's. First on the agenda was qualifying. The America's Incredible Pizza Company Toyota continued to show signs of domination as Lagasse Jr. wheeled the race car to a fifth place starting position for that evening's Federated Auto Parts 300.
With a bird's eye view of the leaders, Lagasse Jr. quickly made his move as the green flag waved. As 43-cars came around turn four, on lap one, the No. 11 America's Incredible Pizza Company Toyota found itself in the second position.
That run up front would continue until the very first pit stop of the night was made on lap 68. The America's Incredible Pizza Company Toyota was brought down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment to help with a tight in the center handling condition.
When the No. 11 rejoined the field a heartbreaking message was relayed to the driver and team. NASCAR mandated that Lagasse Jr. come back down pit road for a pass through penalty. The America's Incredible Pizza Company Toyota was too fast exiting pit road on the initial pit stop.
On lap 76 of the 225-lap event, the No. 11 Toyota Camry was displayed in the 29th position, two laps down.
Despite the uphill battle ahead of them, the driver and team forged ahead. By the halfway point of the race, Lagasse Jr. had gained significant ground and was credited with the 16th position.
Two more pit stops followed on laps 116 and 190 for tires, fuel and minor adjustments.
With consistent and fast lap times out on the race track, the America's Incredible Pizza Company Toyota was able to advance as many positions as possible during the race. The lack of caution laps during the second half of the race did not allow for the No. 11 to recover from the two lap down predicament.
Lagasse Jr. was 11th on lap 198 and maintained that position until the checkered flag flew under the lights at Nashville.
"Well it wasn't exactly the finish we had hoped for," Lagasse Jr. remarked. "We had a strong car and that error on pit road really set us back. We never gave up though and unfortunately the caution flags didn't fall the way we had hoped they would. Still with all things considered, an 11th place finish isn't all that bad."
Next on the schedule is Kentucky Speedway for the NASCAR Nationwide Series.