Charge to the Front Cut Short at the "Monster Mile"; the America's Incredible Pizza Company Race Team Settles for 27th (May 30, 2009) Dover, Del. & ...
Charge to the Front Cut Short at the "Monster Mile"; the America's Incredible Pizza Company Race Team Settles for 27th
(May 30, 2009) Dover, Del. The love/hate relationship with Dover International Speedway continued over the weekend for Lagasse Jr. and the America's Incredible Pizza Company race team. After a valiant effort to get the No. 11 Toyota Camry back up front, the hope of a top-10 finish fell short just 40 laps left to go in the race. Lagasse Jr. took a hard hit into the wall and was credited with a 27th place finish when the checkered flag fell.
Dover International Speedway is a track that shows no mercy on drivers and race cars. It has been labeled as the "Monster Mile" and for good reason. The America's Incredible Pizza Company race team was ready to take on the monster as they unloaded chassis number 009, the same car that brought the team their first top-10 finish of the season at Las Vegas earlier this year.
One extended practice session was held Friday afternoon for the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Lagasse Jr. took to the track and began to familiarize himself with the mile concrete facility. By the end of the session, the No. 11 machine was posted in the 26th position with a 23.949 second lap, 150.319 mph.
Saturday morning marked race day but before the Nationwide Series could buckle down for 200 laps, qualifying needed to take place. Lagasse Jr. drew an early qualifying position and was the third car to make his way around the track. The America's Incredible Pizza Company Toyota would find itself in the 33rd position for the start of the Heluva Good! 200.
Under perfect race conditions, the 200-lap shootout commenced. The caution laps would start immediately as the first one was thrown on lap one. Within that first lap, Lagasse Jr. had gained a significant amount of ground and was displayed in the 24th position.
Pit stops would soon follow when the caution flag fell again on lap 27. The America's Incredible Pizza Company race car came down pit road for two tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment for a loose in the corner handling condition.
A long green flag run after the restart would put the No. 11 in a predicament on lap 57. The leader had caught the middle half of the field and put Lagasse Jr. a lap down. The team never gave up and after two more pit stops the America's Incredible Pizza Company Toyota was credited with the "Lucky Dog" award.
By the halfway point, the car had broke into the top-20 and looked to be a strong contender as the laps progressed. The adjustments from the pit stops proved beneficial when Lagasse Jr, reported in that the handling concerns were slowly dissipating on lap 96.
On lap 148, the America's Incredible Pizza Company Toyota Camry had made a total of five pit stops and was running in the 18th position. The charge to the front would fall short just 10 laps later as Lagasse Jr. was bumped in the right rear by a fellow competitor and was sent flying into the wall. The No. 11 Toyota took a hard hit and was forced into the garage area with no hopes of returning to the race.
"It definitely wasn't a good day for us. We started off a little bit rough. Paul (Wolfe, crew chief) and the guys did a good job on pit road keeping us out there so we could work on it. We were going to make a decent day out of it," explained Lagasse Jr. "I hate that the day had to end this way for us."
Teams head to Nashville Superspeedway for another shot at winning the coveted Gibson guitar trophy on Saturday, June 6th.