Stephen Leicht Uses His Senior Year for a Racing Education 18-Year-Old Finishes School Early to Prepare for ASA LM and ASL Seasons CHICAGO, IL (March 7, 2005) -- There are only 24 hours in the day and everyone needs to sleep sometime, so when...
Stephen Leicht Uses His Senior Year for a Racing Education
18-Year-Old Finishes School Early to Prepare for ASA LM and ASL Seasons
CHICAGO, IL (March 7, 2005) -- There are only 24 hours in the day and everyone needs to sleep sometime, so when you are a young rising star in racing, there are things that you have to sacrifice elsewhere in life.
For 18-year-old Stephen Leicht, there have been many things that have been pushed aside so that he could devote his energies to racing. He hasn't been to a prom and he skipped the second half of his senior year in high school to go the route of studying on his own to obtain his GED six months early (during the off-season, of course). Instead of having fun in the final few semesters of school in North Carolina, Leicht has been spending time in Howie Lethow's Wisconsin raceshop to prepare for the upcoming season and learn more about how racecars are constructed.
"I wouldn't give this up for anything," said Leicht. "Sometimes, it's hard because I'm missing out on some fun stuff the second part of the school year, but there is nothing that I'd rather do than race."
"I don't think that working in the shop will change my driving style, but it does help me relate to things," said Leicht. "We got a chassis from Howe and built everything else from the ground up. Learning everything that goes into the car should help me communicate better. I know it won't hurt. You have to have a good vocabulary to talk to your crew and working with Howie in the shop has really helped to develop that for me."
All of the work that Leicht has done in the shop has paid off in more tangible ways too. The race season for WalTom is still nearly two months away, but the team is ready.
"We are waiting for our motors to come back, but other than that everything is ready," said Leicht. "We have two ASA Late Models and two ASL cars all set to go. We'll be running the full ASA Late Model season and we're going to try and do the whole ASL season as well. Our ASL cars are what we ran in ASA last year and we just built a new ASA Late Model to go with our other one that only has three races on it. We are in very good shape."
Before that, Leicht will have a chance to race close to his Asheville, North Carolina, home and with that opportunity comes a chance to be just a kid for a night. Leicht's grandfather and uncle have taken over Tri County Speedway (NC) and Leicht will race a Late Model Stock Car there on opening night.
"On April 15th, I'll be running at Tri County," said Leicht. "I raced there for a whole season three years ago in a Late Model Stock, so it will be fun to go back. It's funny that my Senior Prom is the next night, so I'll be able to go to that too."
Leicht doesn't even remember why he skipped last year's Junior Prom.
"I don't exactly remember why I couldn't go," said Leicht. "I was probably off racing somewhere."
Because he will be off racing so often this summer, the prom will be a chance for Leicht to say farewell to his childhood friends.
"When I go home, I see people all of the time at Ingle's (a grocery store) and the mall," said Leicht. "But the sad thing is after the prom we all go our separate ways. I may never see some of these people again. I don't think that I'll be around when everyone graduates, so it's really going to be fun to be around my friends one more time."
But being social isn't the biggest thing on Leicht's mind when it comes to his North Carolina trip. There's no hiding what his biggest goal of the weekend is.
"I want to go back and win at Tri County," said Leicht. "It will be nice to go home and do that."
WalTom Racing, with Robbie Pyle and Stephen Leicht, will compete on the ASA Late Model tour in 2005 as well as the American Stock Car League.