Leonard Uses Lakeland Test To Prepare For Short Track Assaults In 2005 Cape Coral, Florida - - It's been nearly two years since ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Johnny Leonard has endured a short track event. However, that will change this season as ...
Leonard Uses Lakeland Test To Prepare For Short Track Assaults In 2005
Cape Coral, Florida - - It's been nearly two years since ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Johnny Leonard has endured a short track event. However, that will change this season as Leonard along with his Florida Motorsports Group have made it very clear they will run for the RE/MAX title this season. This past Thursday, the FMG team participated in a closed private test session from USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Florida to shake down their short track car in preparation for the third installment of the RE/MAX Series schedule next weekend at Salem.
In the seven-hour test session, Leonard ran approximately 125 laps around the flat 0x00be mile facility posting very competitive and consistent lap times.
"The test went good," said the driver of the No. 13 Boca Bay Builders Chevrolet Monte Carlo. "I've never seen this track prior to Thursday. It's a very different, and slick track. We just wanted to come down here and shake our short track car down and get ready for Salem next weekend."
Leonard, who has been titled as a championship contender by the SPEED channel this season also mentioned "I've only have a couple of short track races under my belt. We ran well in all of them despite some of the finishes. The ARCA RE/MAX Series has a very diverse schedule and we just hope that the short tracks are good to us this year."
Leonard wasn't the only driver behind the wheel of the No. 13 machine Thursday afternoon. Florida Motorsports Group partner Rick Woodard buckled in just after 4:00pm EST. Taking about 15 markers around the track, Woodard posted very respectable lap times. While Thursday's thrill ride was a first for Woodard at Lakeland, it wasn't his first experience in the fast lane.
Besides having experience as a hydroplane driver, Woodard has also participated in several of the racing schools, which include the Richard Petty Driving Experience, and the Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure. Rick has also tested at some of the highest quality tracks on both the RE/MAX circuit and Nextel Cup Circuit including Talladega Superspeedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"That was cool," he said exiting from the car. "It was really great to get back inside a racecar and have a little fun. I took it easy, I didn't want to go out there and wreck the car and especially didn't want to go out there and run faster than Johnny," he said jokingly.
For Leonard, having partner Rick Woodard test on Thursday was special. "Not too many of the partners actually are able to crank the engine and go out and run a couple laps. For me, I just wanted Rick to have a good time and feel the car. He did just that, I wouldn't be surprised if he entered an ARCA race or two this season," Leonard smiled.
The Florida Motorsports Group team returned to the shop early Friday morning and begun making the final changes to the 2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo purchased from Nextel Cup driver Hermie Sadler for the first of two events from Indiana's Salem Speedway next weekend.