Scott Lagasse has honed his skills from ARCA racing to the NASCAR Nationwide Series. But he is most proud of his new relationship with the Boy Scouts of America as sponsor and partner.
“The relationship with them is pretty unique,” Lagasse said. “It started when I did a pine wood derby race and thought that was pretty cool.”
“We started talking and it ended up at national,” Lagasse continued. “What a great organization.”
“The Scouts do so many great things for kids, instilling morals and values,” Lagasse said. “It was a strange and unplanned relationship, but really a great one.”
Lagasse, a Boy Scout himself, has been most enthused about the impact of the partnership that he has experienced first-hand through a variety of Scouting events.
“We’ve already seen the excitement with the kids,” Lagasse said. “We went to an event at Fort Knox, Kentucky and there were 8,000 kids there that absolutely went crazy and loved the race car.”
“It’s fun for me because we drove a Scout to school this morning,” Lagasse continued. “We’ve done that a couple times now.”
“We went through Orlando with a police escort, spinning the rear tires and pulling up to the front of the school with all the kids out front,” Lagasse said. “It was great.”
“I don’t know if I had more fun, he had more fun or his parents had more fun.”
Lagasse is not the first driver to have a sponsor partnership with a charitable organization, proudly following in the steps of one of his racing idols, Jeff Gordon, whose sponsor is the AARP Foundation’s Drive to End Hunger.
So, it may not be coincidence that Gordon’s step-father John Bickford has also been a friend, mentor and advisor to Lagasse throughout the years.
“Without a doubt you always look up to a driver like Jeff Gordon,” Lagasse said. “Obviously for Mr. Bickford to spend the time with me that he has, I guess I would consider myself a charity case.”
“I don’t know that it was his idea about the charitable partnership, but he definitely has molded the way that I think and approach the sport,” Lagasse continued. “There’s no doubt that he is the leading person pushing me to do a business plan that makes sense.”
“In that regard, Mr. Bickford has been a huge ally and asset,” Lagasse said. “You definitely have to respect what he has done for the sport.”
Lagasse, mirroring the values of the Boy Scouts, also credits his family, particularly his father Scott Lagasse Sr., a racer in his own right, with supporting him in his racing journey.
“I couldn’t ask for my parents to do anything more for me,” Lagasse said. “They both realize the commitment and how much it takes to be successful.”
“They were always there to support me and that to me means a lot.”
In addition to the support of his family, Lagasse is also grateful for the camaraderie, commitment and support of his team. This too mirrors the values of Scouting in creating teamwork and a shared community.
“I’m really excited about the group of guys that we have, especially my crew chief Brad Parrott,” Lagasse said. “Brad came and crew chiefed an ARCA race for me.”
“He was a huge help and we led a lot of laps until we ran out of gas,” Lagasse continued. “It was not his doing but I still give him a hard time about it.”
“That’s obviously a good way to have started the relationship,” Lagasse said. “Since then we have worked together quite a few times.”
“That’s what motivates me, knowing that we’re all going to battle together,” Lagasse continued. “The most fun will be on race day when we strap in with that group of guys around me and the support of the Scouts.”
Lagasse is also looking forward to race day right at his home track, having grown up in St. Augustine, Florida and racing as a youngster in the shadows of Daytona International Speedway. And the 31 year old driver, now with his own team, cannot wait to take the track for the DRIVE4COPD 300 Nationwide race behind the wheel of his No. 8 HybridLight/Boy Scouts of America Chevrolet.
“This is for sure home and I’ve always had dreams of racing here,” Lagasse said. “Our goals are probably in stages.”
“Number one is to get out of here in one piece,” Lagasse said. “That one, we will accomplish.”
“Beyond that, we need to have a good partner to have a shot at the win,” Lagasse continued. “That’s how I’m going to approach it.”
“We’ll do what we need to do early to be there late,” Lagasse said. “We’re a small team and we know we’re up against the big boys.”
“But we have good people so I don’t see why we can’t run up front.”
Most of all for Lagasse, the Daytona race is all about being honored to represent the Boy Scouts and get the youth leadership of today interested in racing for the rest of their lives.
“I would say for me it’s a huge responsibility to partner with the Boy Scouts,” Lagasse said. “That’s how I look at it.”
“It’s a huge honor that also comes with a huge responsibility,” Lagasse continued. “Our relationship is very young but we’re both committed to the long term.”
“I’m excited about helping young kids develop on and off the track,” Lagasse said. “For us, it’s a shared responsibility and an honor to be that rallying point for them.”
“To me, that’s the best part about the Scouts because time and time again, they do the right thing.”