Rookie Leicht Heads to Lanier with Experience on His Side Young Driver Has High Hopes for a Good Finish in Georgia CHICAGO, IL (April 25, 2004) -- As a rookie in the ASA National Series, some may think the expectations for 17-year-old Stephen ...
Rookie Leicht Heads to Lanier with Experience on His Side
Young Driver Has High Hopes for a Good Finish in Georgia
CHICAGO, IL (April 25, 2004) -- As a rookie in the ASA National Series, some may think the expectations for 17-year-old Stephen Leicht may not be very high heading into the second race of the year. Conventional wisdom might consider a solid finish for the driver of the #4 WalTom Racing CITGO machine at the May 1st race at Lanier National Speedway (GA) to be a type of a moral victory.
However, coming off a third-place effort in the season opening race (Lakeland, FL) and heading to a track where he already has racing experience, a moral victory for this youngster might only come with a trip to victory lane.
"I like Lanier," said Leicht. "I haven't won there yet, but I've got a bunch of laps there. As a team we've been racing well, testing well and we keep getting better every time out. We should have a chance at winning this race."
Leicht has run with the Southern All Stars Series at Lanier and also made one of his seven ASA starts in 2003 there as well. In that event, it did not take him long to adapt to his new surroundings.
"We had a good run going at Lanier in the ASA race last year," Leicht recalls. "We qualified fifth and ran as high as second. We had a good seventh or eighth place run going when Kevin Cywinski got in a wreck in front of us near the end of the race. I just barely clipped his car with the left front and that turned me straight into the wall."
Leicht enjoys racing at the track, but also admits that a good finish at the facility can be a lot of work.
"It's a tough track to pass on," he said. "You really have to drive your heart out to make a pass work. There are two distinct grooves of racing. As you move up a lane, there is more rubber on the track and the car tightens up. It's easy to run side-by-side there, but much harder to actually get by someone."
Leicht is the early leader in the ASA Rookie standings with a 14-point cushion over fellow teenager Casey Smith. He is also only 12 points behind Travis Kittleson for the series points lead in his first season with the WalTom Racing team's Driver Development Program, led by legendary ASA crew chief Howie Lettow.
Leicht will have the added benefit of pulling knowledge from ASA veteran and teammate Robbie Pyle, who has competed in the only two series events held at the Georgia short track.
"Robbie ran really well there last year and I know he'll be able to help me a lot," added Leicht. "That's what this team is all about. We all help each other. Howie and Robbie's crew chief, Bill McGowan, will be bouncing ideas off each other and Robbie and I will be able to talk a lot. That's the benefit of having a two-car team, especially from my perspective.
WalTom Racing, with Robbie Pyle and rookie Stephen Leicht, are competing full-time with the American Speed Association in 2004. For more information on the team, please visit www.waltomracing.com.