Leicht, Holiday Inn Racing Endure Long Day to Finish Ninth at Memphis MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Stephen Leicht and the No. 29 Holiday Inn team rebounded from a lap-seven accident to finish ninth in Saturday's Kroger on Track for the Cure 250 at Memphis...
Leicht, Holiday Inn Racing Endure Long Day to Finish Ninth at Memphis
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Stephen Leicht and the No. 29 Holiday Inn team rebounded from a lap-seven accident to finish ninth in Saturday's Kroger on Track for the Cure 250 at Memphis Motorsports Park.
The Richard Childress Racing team remains sixth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series owners' point standings, 38 markers in arrears of Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 20 entry in fifth and 196 points forward of Braun Racing's No. 38 entry in seventh.
The Holiday Inn team began their weekend by posting the fifth- and eighth-fastest times, respectively, in Friday's dual practice sessions. On Saturday morning, Leicht recorded the 31st-fastest time in qualifying, but damaged the front valence of the No. 29 Chevrolet. The Dan Deeringhoff-led team had to replace the valence, which is against NASCAR's impound rules as an unapproved change, forcing the 23-year old driver to start at the rear of the 43-car field.
The green flag waved at approximately 2:45 p.m. local time and Leicht's day took a turn for the worse when he was involved in a multi-car accident on lap seven.
Leicht visited pit road four times while under caution to repair the damage to the front and rear of his Chevrolet. The No. 29 team's quick and diligent work allowed them to remain on the lead lap, in 33rd, and still be competitive on the three-quarter mile oval. Over the next 20 laps, Leicht picked off 13 spots, racing his way into the top 20.
During the middle stages of the race, Leicht was a mainstay in the top 20. However, on lap 154, the No. 39 of Eddie MacDonald spun on the backstretch and Leicht, who was 14th at the time, slowed to avoid another collision. Erik Darnell could not stop in time and ran into the back of the Holiday Inn machine. Luckily, the hit did not disrupt the No. 29's handling and Leicht was able to continue racing in the top 15 for the next 22 laps.
Following a lap-176 pit stop, Leicht gained two positions before debris forced NASCAR to display the yellow flag on lap 229. After his over-the-wall crew bolted on four fresh tires and added fuel on the ensuing pit stop, Leicht maintained 19th and felt confident he could pick off more spots before the checkered flag waved.
Three caution periods plagued the final 30 laps, producing a green-white checkered finish. During that time, the Asheville, N.C., native gained a total of 10 positions before taking the checkered flag ninth.
Brad Keselowski scored his fourth Nationwide Series victory of the season. Kyle Busch, Jason Leffler, Mike Bliss and Brendan Gaughan rounded out the top-five finishers.
NASCAR's junior division is off next weekend. Jeff Burton will be back behind the wheel of the No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet at Texas Motor Speedway in two weeks.
Stephen Leicht: "The Holiday Inn team did a great job today and never gave up. We finished ninth with a car that was involved in two accidents and their hard work allowed me to stay competitive. Although we were off on qualifying, we were fast in race trim and it showed. I'm really proud of Dan (Deeringhoff) and all the No. 29 guys for sticking with it and helping me get back up front to earn a top 10."