Career Best Finish for Lagasse Jr. in the Nationwide Series at Kansas (September 27, 2008) Kansas City, Kan. -- In just there second week together Scott Lagasse Jr. and the America's Incredible Pizza Company race team were able to overcome...
Career Best Finish for Lagasse Jr. in the Nationwide Series at Kansas
(September 27, 2008) Kansas City, Kan. -- In just there second week together Scott Lagasse Jr. and the America's Incredible Pizza Company race team were able to overcome some handling woes and bring home a 20th place finish. The 20th place finish is a career best for Lagasse Jr. in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the team is hoping to improve on that even more in the closing races in 2008.
CJM Racing and Lagasse Jr. looked forward to coming into Kansas Speedway after a not so kind weekend occurred at Dover the previous weekend. The team and new driver knew that Kansas would give them a better opportunity to gauge the chemistry and performance side of the program.
"Dover is a tough track. Especially if it's your first race together so we were anxious to get to Kansas and see where we were at. Kansas is a mile-and-a-half track and not so much beating and banging goes on there. It gave us an opportunity to talk things through and figure out Scott's driving style," explained crew chief Todd Gordon.
Two practice sessions started out the race activities on Friday afternoon. In both sessions, the team and driver focused on the handling and getting the America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet race ready for Saturday. By the final session the No. 11 turned the 29th quickest lap in race trim with a 33.068 second run, 163.300 mph.
The decision to not make a mock qualifying run in practice did not effect the qualifying effort Lagasse Jr. made the following day. The No. 11 America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet hit the track seventh Saturday morning and was able to turn the 14th quickest lap out of 48 cars.
With a solid position in the 43-car field, Lagasse Jr. fastened his belts and got ready for 200-laps of action. It became immediately clear that the handling was going to present a problem for the America's Incredible Pizza Company race team as Lagasse Jr. reported in, "I'm free" on lap four. Within a few more laps and running in the 24th position the driver then reported in, "I'm loose in and tight center off."
Relief would come on lap 16 as the No. 11 was brought down pit road for its first of six pit stops. The America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet received four fresh tires, fuel, a wedge and air pressure adjustment. Lagasse Jr. accidentally stalled the race car on pit road causing him to have to restart in the 33rd position on lap 19.
The handling continued to pester Lagasse Jr. as the race resumed. A quick stop was made under caution on lap 30 for a wedge adjustment and fuel only. The America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet restarted in the 13th position and had hoped to hang on to the top spot until the car became a handful. Lagasse Jr. dropped 11 positions in five laps due to a loose handling car that began to wiggle getting into the corners.
Todd Gordon brought the America's Incredible Pizza Company Chevrolet down pit road a total of six times to try and solve the handling issues. The remaining pit stops were made on laps 40, 93, 149 and 163. Multiple adjustments ensued with everything from air pressure adjustments to closing off the right front shock. The crew never gave up and worked hard to find that balance for Lagasse Jr.
As the race wore on, the No. 11 was displayed anywhere from the 32nd to 20th position. The 20th position is where Lagasse Jr. would find himself in the closing laps and would be credited with as the checkered flag flew. The top-20 finish signifies a career best for Lagasse Jr. in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series will enjoy some down time as next weekend is an "off weekend". Racing action will resume in two weeks as NASCAR will race at home at Lowe's Motor Speedway.