Max Lagod dies

Sports Car Club of America champion driver Maxwell “Max" Lagod died on March 12, following a battle with lymphoma. He was just 41.

Known in SCCA circles as “Mad Max," Lagod was a two-time SCCA national champion in GT-1 (1996-97), and he recorded 75 SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series starts. Spending most of his Trans-Am career in an era of Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge factory-backed teams, Lagod and his father, Jerry, fielded their own privateer effort, first with a Chevrolet Camaro and later with a Corvette.

In addition to winning his second-consecutive Runoffs in 1997 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lagod enjoyed his best season of Trans-Am competition, recording an 11th-place finish in the final standings and closing the year with a second-place finish at the Reno Grand Prix, his first series podium finish. He later scored another podium finish and had six top-fives and 29 top-10s in his career.

“Max and I were fiercely competitive with one another," fellow GT-1 and Trans-Am competitor and SCCA Inc. and Pro board member Michael Lewis said. “He was the one guy I always wanted to beat. If nothing else went right on a race weekend, as long as I beat Max, I had something. I think he may have felt similarly. But there was always respect. I think the thing that drove he and I was that we were both club guys that graduated to Trans-Am and we both wanted to be top dog. Over the past couple years, the fire had cooled, and Max and I developed a rapport. I will miss Mad Max on the track and in the paddock. He was a true racer's racer."

Lagod is survived by his partner, Jennifer Brennan; his parents, Jerry and Linda Lagod, a brother and a sister.

Visitation is scheduled for 3 to 9 p.m. Eastern on March 16 at Davenport Family Funeral Home, 149 W. Main St., Barrington, IL 60010. The funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. on March 17 at St. Anne Catholic Church, 120 N. Ela St., also in Barrington. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at 651 W. Washington Blvd, #400, Chicago, IL 60661.

The SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series will recognize Lagod with a moment of silence prior to this Friday's season-opening round from Sebring International Raceway in Florida.

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