A 200-Lap Race Against Handling; Lagasse Jr. Finishes 25th (November 1, 2008) Denton, TX -- The America's Incredible Pizza Company race team has undergone a lot of changes in the course of the last few months. The team goes into each race ...
A 200-Lap Race Against Handling; Lagasse Jr. Finishes 25th
(November 1, 2008) Denton, TX -- The America's Incredible Pizza Company race team has undergone a lot of changes in the course of the last few months. The team goes into each race weekend hoping to build on their program and get Lagasse Jr. some more seat time behind the wheel of the No. 11 America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet. With interim crew chief Mike Sibley calling the shots, the team was able to overcome a lot of handling woes and bring the No. 11 machine home in 25th position in the Lonestar State of Texas.
A familiar face graced the hood of the America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet this weekend. Country music artist Jason Aldean rode "shot gun" on the hood of the No. 11 race car for the second time this season. The Jason Aldean/America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet would struggle with some handling issues from day one. The battle continued till the close of the weekend but the team never gave up and was able to produce some solid results.
The crew unloaded chassis #03, the same chassis that Lagasse Jr. raced at Lowe's Motor Speedway a couple weeks back and that finished 13th. As the first practice session got underway it became apparent that the handling was going to be a concern. The No. 11 America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet was free in and tight off. The crew worked diligently throughout the two sessions to try and ease the concern and get Lagasse Jr. on the right track. As of final practice, in race trim, the No. 11 was credited with the 27th position with a 30.160 second run, 179.045 mph.
Qualifying commenced later that afternoon and the America's Incredible Pizza Company race team drew an early qualifying spot; set to take to the track 10th. Lagasse Jr. buckled in and placed the loose handling race car in the 31st position for Saturday afternoon's race.
"I don't know if it's because the track keeps changing on us or if we've missed something on the set-up. I know we'll get it together and be competitive tomorrow but it's going to take some more work," remarked Lagasse Jr.
Saturday morning the NASCAR Nationwide Series came into the track with one thing on their mind, the start of the O'Reilly Challenge. The America's Incredible Pizza Company on the other hand had something completely different on their mind. They noticed a puddle of water under the car and upon further examination noticed that the radiator hose was loose. Instead of taking a chance and having it become a catastrophic situation during the race; the team opted to replace the hose before the race. Because the Nationwide Series impounds the cars after qualifying, the change is considered an unapproved adjustment and the No. 11 would have to start the O'Reilly Challenge from the back of the field.
Despite the situation at hand, Lagasse Jr. aggressively maneuvered his way around cars in the opening laps of the 200-lap event. Within seven laps, the America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet moved up 11 positions to 30th. That charge would be cut short just a few more laps in as Lagasse Jr. reported in, "I'm really loose all of a sudden." The handling concerns continued as he radioed in, "there is no front grip in turns three and four." That initial radio communication would set the tone for the remainder of the race.
Relief for the ill-handling race car would come five times throughout the event. The America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet pitted on laps 50,107, 116, 151 and 182 for adjustments ranging from air pressure, wedge, track bar and closing off the right front shock.
While the adjustments helped to alleviate the handling woes, they never completely went away. Lagasse Jr. did his best to maintain track position and ran mid-pack for the majority of the race. The America's Incredible Pizza Company race team crossed the start/finish line in the 25th position when the checkered flag waved.
"Handling got the best of us today. Maybe it was something with the aero package, I'm not exactly sure. I know these guys worked their butts off and did everything possible to get me handling better," Lagasse Jr. stated. "We'll get it right. I have no doubt what this team is capable of".