February 17th, 2011
Team LaCross Fulfills Dreams at Daytona

As a group of short track racers from Central New York, most of the team members had only dreamed of racing at Daytona. But that is exactly what happened on 2/12/11 when Team LaCross Motorsports from Preble, NY took the checkered flag in the ARCA Slick Mist 200 at the World Center of Racing. In the moments after the race, team members embraced and shared emotions that most never thought would happen.

The week went smoothly as the team unloaded the car on Wednesday morning and only had a couple of small compliance issues during the day long inspection process. On Thursday the car was approved for competition in the morning and ready for afternoon practice. The team made several adjustments during the 32 laps of practice. On Friday, the team qualified 39th out of 48 cars. Even though the speed was not what we were hoping for, Bill Gerhart assured us that we would be OK in the draft and his goal was for us to finish on the lead lap.

Saturday was a beautiful sunny day at the 2.5 mile high banked oval, and there was a lot of excitement as we setup the pits in preparation for the race. After doing driver introductions on the Bud Shootout stage, we were ready to run this race just like any other track we have raced on in the last 30 years. When the green dropped, we moved up a few positions as some of the faster cars faded to the back for safety. After a couple of early cautions, I was able to get into a small draft pack and turn our fastest laps of the weekend. Eventually, about halfway we got lapped by the main pack of cars lead by Bobby Gerhart. Shortly after getting lapped, there was a big wreck coming off from the 4th turn and I was able to weave my way through the carnage without damage. At that point, we pitted for right side tires and gas. The LaCross crew ripped off a 17 second stop and beat all of the other lapped cars off from pit road. This put us in position for the Lucky Dog Award. Unfortunately, there were no more cautions in the closing laps of the race so we ended up as the first car one lap down to the leaders. When the checkered flag flew, we found ourselves in the 26th position. Not bad for a bunch of local racers who built our own car and engine in Central New York, which is a long way from Charlotte, NC.

Since we were running the #7 owned by Bill Gerhart, he was extremely happy as one of his cars had won the race and the other made a solid run to the finish. He was pleased with our effort and reminded us just how hard it is to succeed at this level of competition.

I would like to thank the following people who help make this opportunity possible:

John and Darlene Cross, (they never miss a race)

Chuck Miller, Crew Chief (he is good enough to be working for a Cup team)

Bob Cincotta, Bodywork and Pit Support

Aaron Cross, Jackman and Fabricator

Duane Canfield, Frontstretch Spotter

Bobby Thurston, Jr., Backstretch Spotter

Todd Caufield, Rear Tire Changer

John Traphagen, Front Tire Carrier

Eric Bomboy, Gasman

Wade Camenga, Front Tire Changer

Matt Sheerin, Catchcan

Bob Dolezal, Rear Tire Carrier

Grant Cross, Electrical

Clara Ortalano, Crew Support

Jim Caufield, Pit Support

Kevin Warren, Sign Board

I also need to thank some businesses that have supported our team:

Cummings Auto Machine, Engine Builder, Norwich, NY

Quadraflex, Labels, Cortland, NY

Bestdeck, Garage Space, Cortland, NY

Mojo Photos, Graphics and Photos, Waverly, NY

Ritter Performance Machine, Engine Tuning, Lehighton, PA

North Country Custom, Embroidery, Watertown, NY

Odyssey Networks, Webhosting, Cortland, NY

KING Design, Webmaster, Staten Island, NY

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