Forget about the Kentucky Derby; the ASA event at Kentucky Speedway is the best race the Bluegrass State has seen this year. Scott Lagasse Jr. mimicked what “Smarty Jones” did one week ago at the Derby by coming from behind, pulling up to the leader (Wade Day) off the final corner and beating him at the line by a nose. It was one of the closest finishes in the history of ASA.
But then the bizarre occurred. Day drove back to the finish line and proceeded to do a burnout as if he won the race.
“I didn’t know what happened,” said a puzzled Lagasse. “I was pretty sure we were ahead of him, but he was doing such a good show, I just let him do his deal.”
“I won it,” stated Day. “I mean, I just got back to second on the next to last restart. I passed Reed (Sorenson)
and the caution came out again while we were leading the race. I don’t know where the 20-car was, but I don’t know how they could think we didn’t win it.”
Much to the surprise of many, Day was not arguing whether or not Lagasse beat him to the line, but rather that Lagasse was a lap down.
“This is frustrating; he had to be a lap down,” professed Day. “He never passed me; unless he was a lap ahead of everybody. I didn’t lap him?”
“No,” I replied.
”I passed a lapped car down here coming off the corner, was that another car?”
“Yes,” I informed him.
”OK, well, I didn’t know that. I had no idea he was running me for the win. I really thought that was the lapped car I was passing coming off the corner. I never thought that lapped car left my vision. If that’s the case, that is fine, he won the race.”
To Day’s credit, Lagasse split the number-96 and a lapped car to make the winning move and that lapped car was a similar color to Lagasse’s number-20.
On top of that, the scoring was screwed up during the race (which was not ASA’s fault), both on computer monitors and the scoreboard.
“I mean, I didn’t know he was coming; nobody told me,” said Day, who also pointed out that Lagasse was not posted on the scoreboard. “I would have stayed in it had I known. The car was pretty good; I was just being easy on it. I guess if he caught me and run me down, he won the race.”
However, to ASA’s credit, when the scoring meltdown happened, they claimed that they did notify teams of which cars were on the lead lap.
“We were feeding the spotters and everybody that was monitoring race control the lead lap cars from the mid-point of the race on,” explained ASA Race Director Dan Spence. “We ran extra caution laps near the end of the race to make sure we had all the lead lap cars in order; just to make sure everybody was on the same page.”
What might have confused Day even more is that Lagasse had to overcome adversity near the end of the race. You see, most made their final pitstops with about 40-laps to go, but Lagasse had to come in shortly after that when a tire went down. Even he, at that point, thought his chances may have gone out the window.
“At first I said, ‘Guys it’s cut, maybe not, let me try it, no, it’s cut. It’s going down, I’m coming in, all tires, all tires, give me everything you can.’ I thought to myself, ‘Damn, that’s another one.’ This has happened to us so much. It’s just dumb luck. But we didn’t let it get us down. The crew guys kept me pumped up,” Lagasse said.
“It ended up being what won the race for us. The new tires were that good. It made the difference. I never lifted for thirty laps. It started to pick up a chatter the last five laps, but I was running them hard.
I was in the car saying, ‘Just hold, just hold, a couple more laps.’
“We were either going to do it or I was going to hit the wall because I was using everything there was. I just didn’t care. I wanted this bad."
Alanis Morissette would have loved this race because irony was interwoven in every aspect of the finish. When I asked Lagasse to take me through the final lap, his response was, “I didn’t know it was the last one.” Isn’t it ironic, don’t ya think?
“I could see the scoreboard and I looked at it a few laps earlier and saw there was three or four to go,” Lagasse told us. “I pulled off in front of Glenn and got a big run, but he (Wade Day) had me pinched down.
“I thought about lifting for a second and then that’s when the racer in me took over and I just kept it to the mat. I came across the line and they said ‘Good job’ and they started yelling. I didn’t know what happened. I kinda feel dumb now, but I didn’t know what lap it was. I had no idea. They weren’t telling me what lap it was; they just told me to go, give her everything you got. Right or wrong, that’s what we did.
“You never lift. You think about it maybe for a second, but then you don’t. I mean, these are racecars, you can put them back together.”
We told you it was Lagasse by a nose (HSP)
Scoring was a mess in this race, but ASA tells us they will do it the old-fashion way on Monday and recreate the race through the scoring cards to get the final finishing order (not available at the time of this story posting). Nevertheless, there is no debating Lagasse won this race, although Wade Day was holding back tears in victory lane after doing a burnout to celebrate what he thought was his victory.
“It was something. I thought I had won my first ASA race and just three races into the season. What else can I say? This is humbling. But that’s racing I guess.“
Question is, how much more racing will Scott Lagasse do? Believe it or not, he may not even make it to the next race due to the lack of funds.
“I don’t know what to say,” said Lagasse. “Scott Nelson and my family have helped me so much. I mean, we really shouldn’t be here. There are a lot of people taking a lot of hits for me right now and I still can’t figure out why. I am just so fortunate.
“I’m not done. We are going to be back; I just don’t know when. Hopefully we’ll be in Lake Erie (the next ASA race in two weeks), but our plan was to run through the first three and maybe this will fire some people up. We’ll see what happens.”
Hopefully Lagasse will return to race another “Day” because this one will leave lasting memories for anyone who witnessed ASA’s first race on a superspeedway in 1,034 days (according to asaracing.com).