LASCOLA WINS BRAWL WITH LADYGA IN LEGENDS
Nick Lascola battled it out with Nick Ladyga, going door-to-door for lap upon lap in the twenty-five lap Legends feature. Most of the laps saw them side-by-side every time they crossed the stripe in a firefight where neither would yield ground. But late in the race, Ladyga’s tires began to desert him and he got loose in turn four, nearly crashed hard into Lascola’s side and fell back. Lascola held his car straight, navigated the white flag lap and flashed home the winner in one of the tensest races at the old Cement Palace yet this season. He had dealt his opponent the first defeat on the season.
The car-poor field was lost on the crowd with the fiery action of the two leaders. They occupied the outside of rows one and two at the start. Lascola went door-to-door with polesitter Brandon Martinez, then into the lead out of turn two. Ladyga followed him around into second. On lap two Ladyga went under Lascola into the lead on the backstretch but the latter stayed latched onto his back bumper. Carl Blandina, Al Wisialko, Martinez, and Joey Parker followed.
Lascola glued himself to his antagonist’s bumper until lap seven when he dived underneath and Ladyga bore down. The duo ran away at the front, wheel-to-wheel neither letting the other loose. They whipsawed back and forth at the front through lap 13 when caution flew for Parker’s loop in turn one.
Ladyga ignited the booster rockets on the restart and Lascola dived onto his bumper with Blandina, Martinez and Parker in pursuit. But Martinez aspun in turn four on the following lap. The starter didn’t like the first try from the box and called the cars back. On the second try, Ladyga edged up to the starting box too slowly and again the start was called back and Ladyga was sent to the back of the seven-car field. The next restart attempt saw Martinez and Wisialko together in turn one. Ladyga, coming around, barely missed them. Fourth try had Lascola and Blandina on the front, Parker and Ladyga behind them. This time they got away and Ladyga was quickly back into second as he went under Blandina onto Lascola’s bumper. Wisialko then spun at the stripe, but at last the field had completed lap 14.
This time, Ladyga was outside Lascola for the restart and the duo was assaulting each other once again. Ladyga ducked underneath down the backstretch and they were fencing side-by-side again. Ladyga got to the front down the backstretch. Lascola was alongside through turns three and four and Ladyga went ahead on the frontstretch. Lascola was again on his bumper. Into lap 18, Lascola came alongside again and their noses were even at the stripe.
They were dead even until the flagman signaled two to go and Lascola gained an edge. Coming out of turn three, Ladyga’s tortured tires lost some grip and his back end came around. It seemed he was about to crash in and take both cars out of the feature they had so dominated, but he regained control, straightened it out and watched Lascola slide up into the lead. Ladyga again ran hard but was unable to overtake and Lascola had his win, two tenths of a second better than Ladyga. Parker gained third, followed by Blandina, Wisialko and Martinez. Top speed on the day went to Lascola with a 14.419. Ladyga was just two hundredths of a second off with a lap of 14.432, testimony to one of the most competitive features of the season.