JGL Racing, JD Motorsports Carry Momentum into Atlanta

In a series filled with Cup-affiliated teams and big dollars behind them, a pair of small NASCAR XFINITY Series teams has been able to break through to the top third of the chart.

Being able to survive the wrecks at Daytona International Speedway, combined with drafting their way to the front, JGL Racing and JD Motorsports came away from the season opener with top-10 finishes. Though both teams easily have the ability to carry the momentum forward as they both showed promise in 2016.

For JGL Racing, last weekend marked Scott Lagasse Jr. got some damage in the Lap 29 wreck but got the free pass at Lap 78 and come back to finish sixth. It tied the best finish the team has been able to score since J.J. Yeley finished fourth at Talladega in April 2014.

“I can’t thank everyone enough at JGL Racing for this opportunity – they are a great group to work with and provided me with a terrific No. 24 Toyota,” Lagasse said. “Of course none of this would be possible without the great support of our partners Alert Today Florida and the Florida Lottery. I had a blast, and we had a good weekend sharing the message of pedestrian and cyclist safety and promoting Florida Lottery’s support of education like mine with the Bright Futures Scholars program. Hopefully, I will get the opportunity to work with everyone at JGL Racing again.”

This weekend, Lagasse will not be behind the wheel of the No. 24, but rather Corey LaJoie as part of the team’s Young Gun Program. While it marks a whole different challenge this weekend in running an intermediate, it could very well produce back-to-back top-10s for the team as LaJoie ran 10 races with them last year, scoring a pair of back-to-back top-10 finishes at Bristol and Dover.

“It’s just a combination that they’re bringing better cars to the track each week, and I’m getting more in-tune with how to drive the XFINITY cars and giving them good feedback,” LaJoie told POPULAR SPEED last October. “It’s just a combination of everything that we’ve done so far, and obviously there’s been a little bit of luck.”

Meanwhile, JD Motorsports placed two cars in the top-10 as Garrett Smithley finished eighth with Harrison Rhodes in 10th. Both drivers were involved in separate wrecks but sustained minimal damage which allowed them to continue and contend late in the event. Ultimately, it marks a milestone for the team as they were only able to score a single top-10 finish in 2016.

Despite not being known as top-10 finishers, they have the ability to keep the positive trend going. Smithley scored three top-15s last year including a 15th at a fellow intermediate track Charlotte Motor Speedway, as part of the team’s total of 14 top-10 finishes across three drivers.

“I hope we can keep it rolling from the great Daytona start,” Georgia native Smithley said. “Atlanta is one of our fastest tracks, and it’s pretty much home for me. I’m sure the JD Motorsports guys will have a great car for us there.”

While many people watch the XFINITY Series and see the Cup team development drivers shine, these two teams are proving right here that under the right circumstances there’s room for them to shine as well.


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Lagasse Joins RCR XFINITY Lineup

Richard Childress Racing announced on Tuesday that veteran driver Scott Lagasse Jr. would drive the No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro in four NASCAR XFINITY Series races this season.

Lagasse will join Ty Dillon who will drive the No. 3 in 27 NXS races this season as RCR looks for a sixth owner’s championship.

Gil Martin, director of competition for RCR’s XFINITY Series program, said they are looking forward to what Lagasse can bring to the table.

“We welcome Scott to our impressive lineup of this season’s XFINITY Series drivers,” said Martin. “Our goal is to win races and win this year’s owner’s championship, and I’m confident that Scott will help the No. 3 team accomplish those goals.”

Lagasse, who has competed in 61 career NXS races recorded his best career finish of sixth at last weekend’s Powershares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway.

Lagasse says he knows the legacy of the No. 3 and is looking forward to the opportunity to compete for RCR.

“Knowing the history of the No. 3 car and what it means to Mr. Childress, it is a real honor for me to be a part of this team,” said Lagasse. “I look forward to helping RCR win an owner’s championship this season.”



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Lagasse Tapped for JGL Racing Ride at Daytona

The entry list for the PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway continues to grow as it was announced on Friday that Scott Lagasse Jr. would drive the No. 24 Toyota for JGL Racing during the XFINITY Series season-opening event.

Lagasse, a veteran of both the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series will be making his 14th career NASCAR start at the world-famous 2.5-mile oval. He has made 10 previous NXS starts at Daytona with a best finish of 18th coming in 2009.

Clinton Cram will call the shots on top of the pit box as crew chief for Lagasse and the No. 24 team.

“All of us at JGL Racing are excited to have Scott join us for the season opener in Daytona,” added James Whitener, owner of JGL Racing.  “Scott is a great fit for our organization and he quickly fit in with the guys.  He has a tremendous amount of experience running at Daytona and we look for a safe race and a strong finish in the No. 24 Toyota.”

Lagasse is looking forward for another chance to once again race close to home and to compete on the high banks of Daytona.

“I am excited to work with all of the guys at JGL Racing,” stated Lagasse, Jr.  “Daytona is always a special race for me as it is so close to home. It doesn’t get much better than lots of family, friends and a fast race car at my home track.”



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Young’s Motorsports Prepares Double Effort for Homestead

After experiencing success throughout the year, Young’s Motorsports hopes to cap off their season strongly this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The team will enter the weekend under a two-truck effort, put together through a partnership with SS Green Light Racing.

Scott Lagasse Jr. will drive the team’s normal No. 02 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado while fielding the No. 07 AutoNation Cure Bowl Chevrolet Silverado in partnership with SS Green Light Racing for Patrick Staropoli‘s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut. While overseeing both efforts, Principal Tyler Young will also serve a driver coach for Staropoli.

“This is a very busy weekend for us, but a very excited one at the same time,” said Young. “I’m proud to have both Scott and Patrick in our trucks this weekend. Both drivers have their own agenda for what they want to accomplish this weekend, and there’s little doubt in my mind that with a little luck that can happen.

“Both Scott and Patrick are natives of Florida and they both have great partnerships promoting great things. I’m proud to be a part of that too. Without a doubt, Friday night’s truck race is important for everyone, and if we can leave there with two solid finishes, I’ll be thrilled.”

Lagasse has made 24 career truck series starts over the past five years, with one of those coming this year with a ninth place finish at Daytona International Speedway. Over the previous two years, Lagasse has made five starts, scoring one top-fives and four top-10s. He has one career start at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which came last year with a 15th place finish.

Staropoli burst onto the racing scene in 2013 when he won the PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge, which allowed him to make his NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Debut at Irwindale Speedway. He made the most of it, picking up the victory which enabled him to make three more starts, earning three additional top-five finishes. Since then, he has gone on to make some K&N Pro Series East starts, as well as competing at Daytona in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.

“I’m going to be surrounded by a lot of great people who want to see me succeed in my Homestead debut,” added Staropoli. “The goal is to run all of the laps, keep the truck clean and raise as much awareness as possible for the AutoNation Cure Bowl and the fundraising we’re doing for Breast Cancer research.

“Growing up in South Florida, I’ve always dreamed of making it to the big track at Homestead, so I really just want to enjoy this opportunity and make the best of it.”

Staropoli’s truck will feature sponsorship from AutoNatio Cure Bowl, which is held at Camping World Stadium on Dec. 17, 2016, to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

“I’m so grateful for this opportunity to represent AutoNation and make my NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut this weekend at Homestead,” said Staropoli. “The AutoNation Cure Bowl is such an amazing sporting event that not only provides a great platform for great football but also make a difference in the everyday fight for finding a cure for Breast Cancer.”

Throughout the season, Young’s Motorsports has featured a series of drivers behind the wheel, including four making their series debut. Dylan Lupton posted the best finish of the rookies, finishing 12th at Talladega Superspeedway in October. The best finish of the season goes to Young, who finished sixth at Daytona in February. In 22 races this season, Young’s Motorsports has tailed two top-10, seven top-15 and 13 top-20 finishes.

“It’s been a great year,” said Young. “We’ve worked with a lot of great, young talented drivers while working with guys I’ve raced with throughout my career. We’ve also had some strong finishes, learned a lot about them, learned a lot about us. It all helps with the bigger picture.

“We’ll be back next season and look forward to announcing our plans in the coming weeks.”



The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.