CJM Racing Survived the Storms to Score Another Top-10 Finish (April 11, 2009) Lebanon, Tenn. -- The NASCAR Nationwide Series was in Nashville, Tennessee over the weekend for their first stand-alone event of the season. The America's Incredible...
CJM Racing Survived the Storms to Score Another Top-10 Finish
(April 11, 2009) Lebanon, Tenn. -- The NASCAR Nationwide Series was in Nashville, Tennessee over the weekend for their first stand-alone event of the season. The America's Incredible Pizza Company/Jason Aldean Toyota race team would dodge a lot of unexpected elements along the way and score their second top-10 finish of the season.
The big story heading into Nashville Superspeedway Friday morning was the weather. The Nashville area was under a tornado advisory and within a couple hours of the garage opening all teams were ushered out of the garage area and into solid structures. Fortunately the track did not fall victim to the surrounding catastrophe and the track went green around the five o'clock hour for one extended practice session.
Lagasse Jr. got behind the wheel of a brand new chassis and the work began to get the No. 11 America's Incredible Pizza Company/Jason Aldean Toyota up to speed. After some major adjustments to the front end of the car, the handling came around and Lagasse Jr. moved from 41st on the practice board to 15th in the closing practice session laps. The No. 11 ran a 29.789 second lap, 161.093 mph.
The following morning teams returned to the track for qualifying and a chance to win the coveted Gibson guitar in victory lane. Under cold and overcast conditions, Lagasse Jr. wheeled the No. 11 machine around the race track for two qualifying laps. The results were disappointing as the America's Incredible Pizza Company/Jason Aldean Toyota was extremely loose and only able to place in the 38th qualifying position for the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series 300.
"We were good in race trim so I know what we'll be capable of doing come the start of the race," explained Lagasse Jr. "It's not where we wanted to start but I know the car is good and we'll make up some ground fast."
The America's Incredible Pizza Company/Jason Aldean Toyota did just that as the green flag waved Saturday afternoon. Lagasse Jr. was able to move up 15 positions by lap 10 of the 225-lap event. That momentum continued and when the competition caution flag flew on lap 30, the No. 11 was displayed in the 17th position.
The mandatory caution flag enabled Lagasse Jr. to come down pit road for adjustments. The car was acting finicky not allowing Lagasse Jr. to get through the center of the corners. The crew quickly went to work and changed four tires, added fuel and made a track bar adjustment. The fast stop advanced the No. 11 into the 14th position on the restart.
Back out on track, the handling was still a concern as Lagasse Jr. reported in, "I'm too tight now. We need it to roll better in the center to go faster."
The America's Incredible Pizza Company/Jason Aldean Toyota was brought down pit road a total of four times throughout the day for fresh tires, fuel and adjustments to help alleviate the handling woes. The pit crew had a stellar performance in each stop as Lagasse Jr. was able to advance multiple positions after each service.
"It was a rally today," remarked Lagasse Jr. "Our pit stops -- our guys worked really, really hard and they got us the track position we needed and we worked on the car all day long."
Despite the ill handling conditions, the team advanced forward and by lap 145 Lagasse Jr. found himself back up into the top-15 on the track. The America's Incredible Pizza Company/Jason Aldean Toyota Camry would never fall back in the field again. After the final pit stop on lap 186, Lagasse Jr. rallied ahead and was able to nab the 10th place position from Stephen Leicht on the final lap. The 10th place finish marks the second one for the team this season and advances Lagasse Jr. to ninth in driver points and CJM Racing to 13th in owner points.
"Tough day for us -- it was a battle all day long and a 10th place finish today, after where we started, was a win for us. I can't say enough about the guys on this team. They worked hard to get me the right adjustments and the pit crew did a great job getting us valuable track position."
Next stop on the NASCAR circuit is Phoenix, Arizona. The NASCAR Nationwide Series will battle it out under the lights Friday evening, April 18th.