STEPHEN LEICHT SCORES CAREER BEST TOP 10 IN KENTUCKY SPARTA, Ky.hJune 17, 2006) -- In his seventh career NASCAR Busch Series start, rookie Stephen Leicht, driver of the No. 90 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion, brought home a career best 10th-place...
STEPHEN LEICHT SCORES CAREER BEST TOP 10 IN KENTUCKY
SPARTA, Ky.hJune 17, 2006) -- In his seventh career NASCAR Busch Series start, rookie Stephen Leicht, driver of the No. 90 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion, brought home a career best 10th-place finish Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.
After an early qualifying draw which resulted in a 28th-place starting position, Leicht reported to the crew that the car was extremely loose. Crew Chief Jerry Pitts reassured Leicht that the No. 90 would tighten up more in race trim and he would be good for competition.
Leicht began his ascent toward the front immediately after the green flag waved for the 200-lap event. While running in 22nd, the team made their first pit stop under cautionon lap 24 for four tires and fuel only. "The car is a little free on entry and loose off, but really good," was Leicht's comments to the crew during the stop.
The 19-year old rookie had worked his way into the 18th-position by lap 60 and continued to pick off positions as the laps dwindled. The CitiFinancial team was one lap shy of a green-flag pit stop when a much needed caution fell on lap 116. Leicht was running in the 13th position when the Robert Yates Racing entry came down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
Several laps would pass as Leicht continued to gain track position. Around lap 184 he was in eighth place when he made his way down pit road for a final pit stop for four tires and a splash of gas. The No. 90 tightened up slightly during the final 10 laps and the rookie scored a 10th-place finish - the second top-10 of the season for the No. 90 CitiFinancial team.
"I can't thank thisentire CitiFinancial team enough," said Leicht. "The car was running great all night. We had a tight issue, we would put on sticker tires and it would be a rocket ship for about 20 laps, nice and free, and then it would just keep getting tighter and tighter. This is the best finish we've had this year, other than the road-course race. It's my best career finish. It feels great. Ireally need tothank Robert Yates Racing. Robert kept me in this car and Doug Yates gave us a great engine here tonight. It was really a team effort."
Rookie David Gilliland became the first non-Nextel Cup driver to win a NASCAR Busch Series race this season, passing J.J. Yeley with 10 laps to go. Yeley, Denny Hamlin, Mike Wallace and Ashton Lewis Jr. completed the top-five.
Leicht will be back behind the wheel of the CitiFinancial Ford when the NASCAR Busch Series returns to action on Saturday, June 24 for the running of the AT&T 250 at The Milwaukee Mile. Coverage of the race will begin at 8:30 p.m. ET. FX and MRN will carry live coverage.