Connor Mosack returns to M1 Racecars equipment for the third time this season to help honor Sherry Pollex’s legacy during Sunday’s Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers TA2 Series main event at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) in Alton.
Mosak will be behind the wheel of the No. 8 Sherry Strong/M1 Racecars entry, fielded by TeamSLR, to honor Pollex and her dedication to women’s and children’s health. Pollex, a longtime fixture in the racing community, lost her courageous battle with ovarian cancer on Sept. 17.
Mosack competed fulltime for TeamSLR in 2021 and 2022 and finished those seasons third and fourth, respectively, in the TA2 championship. The 24-year-old driver from Charlotte, North Carolina, graduated this year to a slate of 23 NASCAR Xfinity Series races with Sam Hunt Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing, along with another six ARCA Menards Series outings with the Gibbs team. Mosack will also honor Pollex’s legacy during Saturday’s Drive for the Cure 250 Xfinity Series race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval in the No. 24 SherryStrong.org GR Supra for Sam Hunt Racing.
It was that tribute by Sam Hunt Racing that led TeamSLR co-principal Scott Lagasse Jr., to want to do the same with Mosack behind the wheel during Sunday’s 30-lap, 75-minute race around the 3.7-mile, 17-turn VIR circuit. Lagasse was competing in both the Xfinity Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2015 when he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer just weeks after his 34th birthday. Pollex was one of many who offered him their friendship and support at the time.
“She was a friend you knew you could call if you needed to – she was very good at that – and I hope she felt like I was the same for her,” said Lagasse, who is thankful to call himself a cancer survivor today. “It was comforting to know there’s somebody there, the same age, going through the same struggles in life. And she was just part of a great family. If you were around racing growing up, you just respected the Pollex family. They did things right. At times like this, you want to do something special to let the world know who she was and what she meant to you.”
Mosack relishes the opportunity to be a part of Sherry Strong tribute on back-to-back days, at two racetracks that he is particularly fond of and are close to home.
“It’s an honor for me and Sam Hunt Racing and TeamSLR to honor Sherry on our racecars, to be able to bring light to her and honor her legacy in that way,” Mosack said. “Everyone’s been praying for her family, and it will be great to have them all there with us Saturday at Charlotte. And then, of course, to be able to do it again with the Lagasses on Sunday, it’s cool to know that Sherry and Scotty offered support to each other during their respective battles with health issues and it’ll be doubly good to be able to honor her twice in the same weekend.”
Because of his Xfinity Series commitments at Charlotte Motor Speedway Saturday, Mosack will have to forego TA2 qualifying late that afternoon, which will place him at the back of the 34-car starting grid for Sunday’s race. It will be his fifth TA2 outing at VIR, dating back to his starts there during Trans Am’s doubleheader weekend at the track in 2020, when he got his initial taste of road-course racing running just a partial schedule with TeamSLR. His best outing at the track was last October’s second-place finish from the pole, which offers a ray of hope for his prospects of advancing from the back of the starting grid this weekend.
“I’m really excited about the Sunday race – I’ve always enjoyed Trans Am racing, especially with the Lagasses, and VIR is one of my favorite places to go,” said Mosack, who in 26 career TA2 starts has a pair of wins, nine podium finishes and 15 top-10s. “It’s nearby and just a cool place. We had great speed there last year and felt like we let a win get away from us. We’ll have another shot at it this weekend. I won’t be able to qualify due to Xfinity racing on Saturday, but I think if we get the car good and have a caution or two, we can start from the back and still have a good shot at it.”
Mosack will join TeamSLR’s 2023 regular driving duo of Dillon Machavern and Thad Moffitt for Sunday’s 1:35 p.m. EDT race.
“We really want to thank the people who support our M1 Racecars program for making this tribute happen,” said Lagasse, who in the aftermath of his successful battle with colorectal cancer established ScreenYourMachine.org in concert with the American Gastroenterological Association to educate people on the need for getting age-appropriate screenings for all types of cancer. “There are a lot of people who make TeamSLR and M1 Racecars what they are, people like Ken Thwaits from Franklin Road, the Ellises, all of the partners who do so much for us through the course of the year that make things like this possible.”