TeamSLR Suits Up for COTA
November 3, 2021
Connor Mosack and Chris Liesfeld Aim to End Season on High Note in Trans Am Finale
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (Nov. 3, 2021) – As the 2021 season of the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli winds down, TeamSLR is suiting up for the finale at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas.
The 3.426-mile, 20-turn road course that most recently hosted Formula One and its 20-car field on Oct. 24 welcomes Trans Am and its record-breaking 50-car field this Sunday in the Heacock Classic TA2 race. Two of those 50 cars will be fielded by TeamSLR, with Connor Mosack piloting the No. 28 Nic Tailor Custom Fit Underwear/Interstate Foam & Supply Chevrolet Camaro and Chris Liesfeld in the No. 96 M1 Racecars Chevrolet Camaro.
The Heacock Classic marks Trans Am’s seventh visit to COTA and, in true Texas fashion, Trans Am has come back to the Lone Star State bigger than ever. Its 50-car TA2 field dwarfs the previous all-time class entry record of 38 cars set on Aug. 7 when the series raced on the streets of downtown Nashville, Tennessee.
The massive TA2 field at COTA is a microcosm of Trans Am’s growth. Billed as America’s Road-Racing Series, Trans Am proudly pits American muscle in the form of Chevrolet Camaros, Ford Mustangs and Dodge Challengers wheeled by both experienced racers and next-generation talents on some of the most iconic tracks in North America. The opportunities for racers to hone their skills are high because the cost of entry is relatively low.
Engines can last an entire season, and chassis builders like M1 Racecars construct a quality racecar that is as fast as it is safe. It’s a visceral racing series where the driver makes the difference, as outsized talent can trump an outsized bank account.
Mosack is a perfect example. The 22-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, began this season with only four TA2 races on his resume via the doubleheaders he ran late last year at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, respectively. Mosack was a rookie who began his 2021 campaign with a DNF (Did Not Finish) in the season opener at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway, yet nine races later at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, Mosack was a Trans Am race winner. It was a dominant win too, as Mosack took the class lead on the opening lap from series veteran Rafa Matos and never relinquished it, leading all 30 laps around the 3.4-mile, 11-turn track to finish .883 of a second over his nearest pursuer, Tyler Kicera.
The win put an exclamation mark on Mosack’s progression. He secured his first career podium finish June 26 at the Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course, just a month-and-a-half after graduating with a degree in business entrepreneurship from High Point (N.C.) University. Then on Aug. 7 on the streets of Nashville, Mosack earned another podium finish. That set the stage for Mosack’s breakthrough win Sept. 12 at The Glen, with the victory coming in his 13th career TA2 start. The triumph also boosted Mosack to third in the TA2 championship standings, and he comes into the season finale with a three-point advantage over fourth-place Thomas Merrill.
Mosack, however, isn’t interested in points. With the championship out of reach, his sole focus is on getting another win, and TeamSLR aims to get him there.
Mosack is coached by the father-and-son duo of Scott Lagasse and Scott Lagasse, Jr. They have combined to win more than 100 races and seven championships across a variety of series and styles of racecars, from paved ovals to road courses to dirt tracks.
The Lagasse’s depth of knowledge is augmented this weekend by the return of Liesfeld, who will be Mosack’s teammate at COTA. The 47-year-old from Richmond, Virginia, has a long tenure with the St. Augustine-based organization. Liesfeld’s company, Fields Racing, has been competing with TeamSLR and the Lagasses for several years. Liesfeld will make his 13th career Trans Am start Sunday at COTA and his third of the season, with his previous outings coming in Nashville and in the series’ penultimate race Sept. 26 at VIR.
The combination of Mosack’s rising-star talent and Liesfeld’s encyclopedic Trans Am knowledge, both of which will be buoyed by the Lagasses’ coaching acumen, makes TeamSLR’s presence in the paddock a formidable one. Recent history, and the decades of know-how accrued by the Lagasses, convene in the Trans Am season finale this weekend at COTA.
Connor Mosack, driver No. 28 Nic Tailor Custom Fit Underwear/Interstate Foam & Supply Chevrolet Camaro:
Eleven races in the rearview mirror and just one more race ahead – the TA2 season finale this Sunday at COTA. Talk about your development this year, from scoring your first podium at Mid-Ohio to leading a bunch of laps at Nashville to getting your breakthrough win at Watkins Glen.
“I feel like I learned a ton just from running these cars with the guys we race against each week and, obviously, a lot from Scott (Lagasse Jr.) and Senior (Scott Lagasse). They’ve been a huge help for me just learning when you can take advantage and when you need to save yourself, and also just how to make better lap times. I feel like we could’ve been a little bit closer in the points battle had we not had some bad luck this year, but it would be nice to go run for another one next year, that’s for sure.”
“I think so. Road-course craft is a little different than the oval stuff, but I think there are definitely some things you can apply to both. Some things about being a good road-course driver helps on ovals – things that even oval guys don’t understand. Knowing you can be fast in the Trans Am car obviously gives you confidence knowing you can drive fast and be competitive, so I think that’s a big takeaway going into any other series.”
When you get the chance to run an ARCA race on a road course, or a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race or even a NASCAR Xfinity Series race on a road course, do you feel like you’ll be as prepared as some of those drivers who already have road-racing experience in each of those respective series?
“I feel like I would have an advantage over most of the guys, at least in ARCA and probably Trucks. Most of those guys, the only road-course experience they have is the one or two – or maybe three or four, now – road-course races a year that they run. Me, having the whole season running maybe 14 or 15 road courses against guys who only race road courses, I think there are a lot of things that I’ve been able to learn that they may not have.”
There’s a record 50 entries for Sunday’s TA2 race at COTA. How important will qualifying be, and then come the race, what kind of challenges will you face when there are 49 other cars around you?
“COTA’s a big place, so during the race, I don’t see traffic being too big of a problem. As far as qualifying, it’s tough to pass at a lot of these places. At COTA, there are more passing opportunities than other places, but obviously the less you have to pass to get to the front, the better. Really, in Trans Am, it seems like whether there are 20 cars or 50 cars, it’s the same five guys you’re racing. As long as you don’t have to pass 40 guys to get to them, it really is the same. We’re going to focus on qualifying in the top-five and being there at the end of the race.”
You hold a three-point advantage over fourth-place Thomas Merrill in the championship standings. You’ve said all season long that points take a backseat to wins. Is that still the case when a top-three points finish in your first full season of TA2 competition is on the line?
“At the end of the day, to me, second or third or fourth in points doesn’t matter too much. Obviously, if I was running for the championship, I would be more focused on that. But, at this point, with one race left and no shot at winning the championship, it’s definitely 100-percent focused on just trying to win the race.”
You haven’t raced or even tested at COTA. This weekend will be your first visit to the track. How are you preparing for it?
“Just a lot of sim time. It’s probably one of the harder tracks to learn that we go to, just with the amount of corners that it has. A lot of them might look pretty similar, but they definitely are not the same. It’s definitely something to get used to, some blind corners, as well. So I’ve been doing a lot of sim time, which is pretty usual for a new road course, and watching videos of in-car footage, that sort of thing.”
Chris Liesfeld, driver No. 96 New Field/M1 Racecars/Fields Racing Chevrolet Camaro:
Scott Lagasse, Jr., owner of TeamSLR and driver coach:
TeamSLR competes fulltime in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli in a multifaceted effort that includes dedicated entries in the TA2 division, customer programs, driver coaching and car construction. Its history dates back to 1985 and covers a wide spectrum of motorsports, including NASCAR, IMSA, SCCA, ARCA and ASA. TeamSLR is a family-owned organization run by Scott Lagasse Sr., and Scott Lagasse Jr., The father-and-son duo have combined to win more than 100 races and seven championships across a variety of series and styles of racecars, from paved ovals to road courses to dirt tracks. For more information, please visit us online at www.TeamSLR.com, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram and on LinkedIn.