Over the weekend, the Trans Am Series Presented by Pirelli competed at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Round 6 of the 2018 season. This marked the first time that Scott Lagasse Jr. would race at the famous track.
Lagasse Jr., in the M-1 Fastrack, SCREEN YOUR MACHINE™ Camaro quickly figured out the Indianapolis race course and proved to be competitive from the first practice on, followed by an impressive qualifying effort and posting of the 3rd quickest time.
The excitement began early as Lagasse Jr. received a big push from Thomas Merrill on the start and took the lead from pole sitter Rafa Matos. Shortly afterwards, Merrill attempted an outbreaking move and slammed into the left side of the M-1 Fastrack car causing body and suspension damage. The M-1 car was slowed by approximately 1 second per lap after the contact, but Lagasse Jr. squeezed every ounce of performance from the car as the two continued to battle closely for the remainder of the race.
With Matos back in the lead and in command of the race with 9 laps to go, a full course caution bunched the cars back together for a restart and an action filled, full contact race for the win. With Lagasse Jr. running in 3rd position, and lapped cars separating him from the leader, he made a terrific restart and passed 2nd place and several lapped cars by turn 1, closing the gap to the leader. Shortly after the restart, race officials imposed a penalty to the race leader Matos for jumping the green flag restart. This handed the lead over to Lagasse Jr. The remainder of the race was action packed as Lagasse Jr. was tenacious as he slid his damaged Camaro around the hot slippery track, maintaining the lead, lap after lap nose to tail, with Merrill running second and Buffomante on his bumper in third. With several laps to go, Merrill made another aggressive pass pulling inside and sliding across the nose of the M-1 car as he tried to get position for the upcoming corner damaging the right front fender on the M-1 Camaro. Lagasse Jr. would get back in front of Merrill, and then Buffomante would pass Merrill. Now with Buffomante tight on Lagasse Jr.’s bumper and two laps to go, Lagasse Jr. worked his way through lap traffic and the twisty section of the track where Buffomante spun Lagasse Jr. around in an effort to take the win. Lagasse Jr. was able to regain control and keep the car going without losing many positions. The Trans Am officials quickly took action and penalized Buffomante for intentional actions and when the dust settled from this and post-race infractions, Lagasse Jr. would finish 2nd.
“What a race! I guess I missed the memo that this Indy Trans Am race was going to be a full contact event, but I got the message and I’m clear on it now. I’m guessing that Merrill made a mistake and just got in to deep and lost control on lap 3, but that was a hard hit and knocked me clear off the track, my car was never the same and I raced him hard but always gave him a lane. Later in the race Buffomante decided to play bumper cars so maybe it was the heat in Indy? My background is in short track racing where you expect some contact, but this was a Saturday night street fight and thank goodness that the Trans Am officials saw some of what was happening and acted. These cars are very expensive and aren’t built for leaning on each other. Thank you to Trans Am and Indianapolis Motor Speedway for putting on a fantastic weekend for the fans. It is such an awesome atmosphere, and I am proud to be a part of the continued growth of Trans Am. We have a lot of work and lots of costs for parts if we are going to get our car ready and make it to the Mid-Ohio race and then Road America as planned. Our group is overachieving and I’m grateful for everyone’s effort to win races. A special thank you to Chris Leisfeld and Lee Quinlan with M-1 for a great chassis and terrific support,” said Lagasse Jr.
The SLR/Fields Racing Team continues to develop the upgraded M-1 Fastrack Camaro. Stay tuned for more info on Scotty’s schedule & TA Muscle Car action.