Johnny Leonard Optimistic Heading Into Winchester WINCHESTER, Ind (May 3, 2006) - - Cape Coral, Florida native Johnny Leonard has had a rocky start to the 2006 ARCA RE/MAX Series season. However, as the ARCA RE/MAX Series returns to Winchester...
Johnny Leonard Optimistic Heading Into Winchester
WINCHESTER, Ind (May 3, 2006) - - Cape Coral, Florida native Johnny Leonard has had a rocky start to the 2006 ARCA RE/MAX Series season. However, as the ARCA RE/MAX Series returns to Winchester Speedway after a two-year hiatus, Leonard remains confident that his season will begin to change for the better starting with this Sunday's ARCA 200 Presented by Construct Corps.
"We've had a lot of bad luck," said Leonard, who finished tenth in ARCA national points last year. "We had a good car at Salem, just had a rough finish, that's Salem. I would rather get all of our bad luck out of the way in the beginning of the season rather than later. This is our weekend to score a good finish."
A good finish, that's all Leonard is looking for as he attempts to make his Winchester debut. Back in 2003, the last event for the ARCA series at the half-mile paved oval Leonard, a successful entrepreneur failed to qualify for the event following a broken transmission during his qualifying run. With no provisional points to fall back on, the 36-year old was forced to load up his then No. 14 Affordable Roofing Chevrolet and head back south.
"It's a shame that we missed that event," recalled Leonard. "That was the only race I've ever missed in my ARCA career due to a mechanical failure. We posted some good practice times and I really liked the track. This weekend, we hope to not have any mechanical woes."
"Winchester is a very fast track, faster than Salem. I like that. You have to be lucky on the short tracks, sometimes it doesn't matter where you start, you just have to keep your nose clean. We had some good runs on the smaller tracks last year; I'm going to give all I can behind the wheel on Sunday."
Winchester marks the second race for Jack/Cole, Inc. running entirely under the Mark Gibson Racing (MGR) banner. Two weeks ago, Leonard turned the controls over to veteran owner and race winner Mark Gibson to guide his No. 13 Chevrolet in the right direction.
"I was very pleased with the results from Salem despite the finish," mentioned Leonard, a licensed NASCAR driver. Mark was able to make the car better throughout practice and our times picked up considerably, We had a little hiccup in qualifying which didn't give us a good starting position, but we were working our way through the field before getting involved in a minor accident."
The No. 13 Jack/Cole Inc team is still seeking a title sponsor for this weekend's race, but the team will continue to press forward with or without the additional backing. "We're still looking for some help," added Leonard. "We have some good cars, some really good motors, but any marketing partnership assistance would help us improve our program even further."
Despite no primary sponsorship for the event, the team is excited to have pme (Pro Motor Engineering), Leading Edge Racecars, Tex Racing Enterprises, and Best Glove as associate sponsors for the fourth race on the 2006 calendar.
"We have a lot of supporters and some associate sponsors, it all helps," continued Leonard. "I appreciate all the people and companies who do everything in their power to get us to the track. Hopefully we can turn our season around this weekend and return to running up front."
Rolling into Winchester, Leonard, a former Florida late model driver has 36 ARCA RE/MAX Series starts to his resume with a career best finish of ninth at Nashville Superspeedway (August 2005) while holding two additional top ten finishes at Pocono International Raceway (July 2005) and Toledo Speedway (September 2005). He also has a career best Superspeedway qualifying effort of seventh at Kentucky Speedway (July 2005) followed by a career best short track time trials effort of eighth at Lake Erie Speedway (August 2005).