This year’s Ponte Vedra Auto Show will feature so many unique cars, which will include a group of former race cars.
This group will include a C4 generation corvette that was driven by St. Augustine’s own Scott Lagasse Sr. in the Corvette Challenge Series in the late 1980s.
Lagasse Sr. has fond memories of the series, which although only lasted about two years showcased some great talent and was televised on ESPN in 1988 and 1989.
He remembers driving against huge grids of 40 to 50 cars and going head-to-head against some of the biggest names in the racing world, such as Tommy Kendall, Johnny Rutherford and Juan Manuel Fangio II.
Kendall and Fangio II were renowned for their expertise at sports cars and Rutherford is a three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500.
“There were a lot of really good drivers,” Lagasse Sr. said. “It was a showroom stock series, so you weren’t able to modify the cars too much.”
Due to it being a stock series, the results on the track often came down to a driver’s ability and not that of engineers.
As a driver himself, Lagasse Sr. relished for the opportunity and felt that he had a chance to finish strong nearly every time he took to the track.
“That’s really the best type of racing,” Lagasse Sr. said.
In 1988, he was part of a small outfit, and the team did not run in every race.
However, despite not running a full schedule, he was still able to make a splash when they were entered, including capturing pole at Riverside International Raceway.
They moved up to being a full-time entrant in 1989 and added a second car as part of their stable, and it led to them finishing third in the final standings.
One of the races in 1989 that comes to the forefront of Lagasse Sr.’s mind is when he raced his way through the field and captured fastest lap in the rain at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Lagasse Sr. retired in 1996, but the family has remained in racing as his son Scott Lagasse Jr. followed in his dad’s footsteps and went the route of NASCAR.
According to Lagasse Sr., racing was not a path that he pushed on his son, but it was a decision he decided to pursue on his own because he shared the passion for it as well.
Together they run Scott Lagasse Racing, which currently fields a team in the Trans Am Series in the TA2 class, where SLR is one of three approved chassis builders in the series, which means they construct and deliver car chassis for customer teams to use.
The fact that the Lagasse family has been able to remain a strong presence within the racing world is something they are proud of because they know how challenging the sport can be.
“It’s a sport that very few without the proper financial reserves find themselves able to do it for a lengthened period of time,” Lagasse Sr. said. “We’ve been extremely fortunate to make a living out of it.”
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