21-year-old Alex Lacognata started his 2018 race season on a high note, capturing a feature win in the Medium Division at the tenth (and final) running of the DT100. The annual go-kart race features drivers from all over the country competing against one another while raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Alex has nothing but wonderful things to say about the event, stating that the event is one of his favorite events of the year. “It’s fun to be a part of and we’re all there for one purpose, to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation, David Thomas, Jr. and what he does for charity. Winning the last one was just a small part of it,” he says. To Alex, racing isn’t all about winning; it’s about the experience as a whole.
2017 was Alex’s breakthrough year in the Sport Series division at Beech Ridge. Alex shared ‘Rookie of the Year’ honors in the Sport Series division with fellow competitor Kyle Kramlich. He finished 13th in the overall point standings after competing for the better half of the race season racing for Mark and Ali Pennell. “Overall, the season was a blast. But, a low point of the season was probably my first race, the 100-lapper. We’d gone and tested, and the car was fast. I DNF’d in the race after having high expectations for myself,” he shares. Although his first finish wasn’t the greatest, Alex continued to improve and run at the front of the pack as the season rolled on. The highlight of his 2017 season was scoring a podium finish behind Bubba Pelton and Terry Merrill in the Series Open at the conclusion of the season. Alex is continuing to learn more and gain skills behind the wheel, but his impact in racing doesn’t end there.
When he’s not behind the wheel, Alex wholeheartedly submerges himself into the world of racing, whether that be acting as a crew member of a race team or providing spotting services for another driver. He’s worked with some of the biggest names in short track racing, such as; Mike Rowe, Mike Fowler, Cassius Clark and Garrett Hall. Lacognata has an adventurous spirit, occasionally traveling to different tracks down South as well. “I work with some drivers out West and down South, such as; Travis Braden, Kyle Jones and Kyle Purvis. Being on the other side of things definitely helps me to analyze and try to better identify what the car needs when I’m behind the wheel,” he says. Alex’s vast knowledge of the racing world stems from both personal experiences and formal education.
Alex attended the University of Northwestern Ohio, where he studied High Performance Motorsports. In 2015, he packed up and moved out to Ohio to focus on his studies. While he was attending school, he became a member of the school’s DirtCar motorsports team. “I became a crew chief there and learned a ton about what it takes to run my own team. I made a lot of friends out there and actually found a home working on asphalt super late models for Kyle Jones,” he says. Now that he’s out of school, Alex has big goals for the future.”Eventually, I’d like to move to North Carolina and go on the NASCAR tour,” he shares. But, for right now, Alex is content with dedicating his time to his upcoming season at Beech Ridge.
Alex has one simple goal for the 2018 season, which is to remain competitive and continue to race for wins at Beech Ridge. He’s looking forward to seeing where 2018 takes him professionally, but he’s also looking forward to working with Mike Rowe and Caruso Fowler racing in the coming months. “I plan to make it to Winchester Speedway for the 400, as well as the Snowball Derby once again,” he says. How did Alex develop this passion for racing? It all boils down to the infamous Fowler family.
Although he doesn’t come from a racing family, Lacognata sparked interest in the sport from a young age. He became involved in racing in 2009 at the age of 13, but his passion for the sport came at age 10 when he started working on the Fowler family’s farm. “I’d always beg them to take me to the track and they actually used to sneak me into the pits when I was 13. Since then, I’ve been hooked,” he says. His journey in racing started nearly ten years ago, but Alex never forgets to thank everyone that has supported him over the years.
‘Thankful’ is the best word to describe Alex when it comes to his feelings about his biggest supporters. “Mark and Ali Pennell have presented me with an amazing opportunity to drive their racecar. Also, Robbie Harrison lets me keep the car at his shop, and bug him when I need help. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the help from those 3 – I can’t thank them enough,” he shares. He has a wonderful team of people behind him, but also a handful of sponsors that support him every step of the way. Caruso Fowler Racing, Sun Stoppers Window Tinting, Traffic Jam Mobile Electronics, Nadeau’s Variety & Deli, Pierson Heating and Cooling and Cat Haley Cheerleading are among the many sponsors that have helped propel Alex and the #14 team into the 2018 season.
With years of knowledge and experience under his belt, Alex is sure to make a lasting impact both on & off-track in 2018.
Good luck to Alex Lacognata and Pennell Racing in 2018!
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