Scotty Lagasse, Jr Feature

THE LAGASSE RACING LEGACY CONTINUES AT ST. AUGUSTINE SPEEDWAY ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA.-Scotty Lagasse, Jr. is continuing the Lagasse family racing legacy by honing his racing talents this year at St. Augustine Speedway, Fla. in the NASCAR...


ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA.-Scotty Lagasse, Jr. is continuing the Lagasse family racing legacy by honing his racing talents this year at St. Augustine Speedway, Fla. in the NASCAR Winston Racing Series Snap-On Sportsman Division. But it's not all about racing for this 18-year-old second-generation driver. Scotty understands that life in the "fast lane" is a fickle friend that will leave you even more quickly than it arrived. So, just in case circumstances, for some reason, don't work out in the racing world, this young man is preparing himself with the tools he needs to trade in the horsepower and make use of some good, old-fashioned brain power. Scotty is already accustomed to using that brain power, having graduated with Honors from St. Joseph's Academy in St. Augustine this past spring. His outstanding high school scholastic record earned him the prestigious Florida Academic Scholarship, which will all but totally, pay for his college education. The Scholarship covers the total cost of tuition for four years, plus a $600 allowance per semester to cover the cost of books and other expenses. Scotty plans to put that scholarship to work this fall in pursuit of a Business Degree at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. But don't worry race fans, Scotty still plans to be racing on weekends. Why, you might ask, does an exceptionally bright young man like this choose to hurtle himself around a paved half-mile oval at breathtaking speeds? The answer is simple. It's in his blood. "It just feels like a very natural thing to do," says Lagasse. "But I don't know that I could have done it without Dad. He's taught me so much this year. He's really helped speed up and flatten out the learning curve. I feel like I've got a pretty good sense for what the car's doing on the racetrack, I just don't have the experience or the knowledge yet, as to how to make it better. That's one area where Dad's experience has been a great help this year." "He's taught me even more about life's lessons and the business aspects of operating a racing team. Things like personnel, sponsorship responsibilities, scheduling, budgets, personal appearances, marketing, these are all things you need to build a successful program. He's very good at that too." "So much of racing, and life in general these days, is about focus. You have to concentrate and stay focused. And if there's one thing Dad's real good at, it's keeping you focused." This talented teenager is obviously a quick study on the racetrack, as well as in the classroom. In only his second season in a full-bodied racecar, he has already become a local favorite at the St. Augustine Speedway, scoring two wins in the last three outings. Much of Scotty's racing ability is, most likely, the result of just the right mixture of genes. But much of his talent is also the result of consistent exposure to the sport. For as long as he can remember, he's been around racing, tagging along with Dad, Scott Lagasse, Sr. to racetracks across the country. The elder Lagasse, at 40 years of age is a veteran of the racing world whose youthful appearance belies his vast experience. Watching these two standing on the tailgate of a racecar hauler deep into a discussion of shock or spring combinations, carburetion settings, or any of the other mysterious subjects racers love to talk about, you would easily mistake them as brothers rather than father and son. But don't be deceived by looks. Scott Sr. has seen many different sides to this sport and from many different angles. "We've been very fortunate to have accomplished as much as we have in racing over the past 14 or 15 years," said Scott Sr. But I wouldn't have missed this year being here at home with the family for anything. It's been good, quality time and it's been fun. I've had the time to spend with Scotty in the shop working on the car, and teaching some of the subtleties of the racing. And then, we still have time to go play on the water and do some of the things you wouldn't normally have time to do when the racing operation's in Charlotte, for instance, and the family's in St. Augustine. It's been great." Scott Sr. will return to the drivers seat this weekend for a one race deal, piloting the Duralube / Indian No. 25 in the NASCAR Bush Series Grand National Division's Lysol 200 at Watkins Glen International, N.Y. The Ed Rensi owned Chevrolet, usually driven by Kenny Wallace, came available to Lagasse due to a scheduling conflict that has Wallace in Sears Point, Calif. over the weekend. "Ed called me to see if I was available for this weekend. Since I'm pretty comfortable in a stock car on a road course, and this is a good, competitive ride, I said, "sure". I get a lot of offers, but they're usually start-up programs that really don't have all the right personnel in place and you end up spending most of your time and energy trying to get everything up to speed. But this is a solid operation and it's a deal that I can step into at the last moment and go fast. And, it's in an environment that I'm very comfortable with. So sure, let's do it. I just hate that I'm going to miss Scotty's race in the S.A.R.A. event here at St. Augustine this weekend." The S.A.R.A. race Scott refers too is the first ever appearance of the Southern Automobile Association's Key Bank and Trust Late Models at St. Augustine Speedway this Saturday night, June 26. In this event Scotty will be tested by some of the biggest names in Florida Late Model racing in the Central Mobile Homes 100 starting at 7:30. But at least he won't have to miss Dad's race, the Lysol 200 from Watkins Glen, which will be televised live on ESPN at 12:00 noon on Sunday, June 27. There's no doubt that there's a wealth of talent coursing through the veins of these two racers and the younger Lagasse knows that learning the ropes, the subtle intricacies of a sport where an advantage is measured in thousandths of a second takes time. But for both, it's time well spent building the Lagasse legacy.

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Drivers Kenny Wallace , Scott Lagasse Jr.