Leicht Gaining Ground in ASA Rookie Battle Superspeedways Coming Up for Young WalTom Driver CHICAGO, IL (August 16, 2004) -- After coming off a tough run of racing luck, Stephen Leicht managed to turn the tide a bit when the ASA National Tour ...
Leicht Gaining Ground in ASA Rookie Battle
Superspeedways Coming Up for Young WalTom Driver
CHICAGO, IL (August 16, 2004) -- After coming off a tough run of racing luck, Stephen Leicht managed to turn the tide a bit when the ASA National Tour visited Jennerstown Speedway in Pennsylvania. Leicht drove his #4 WalTom Racing Development car to a seventh-place finish, but it was not an easy chore.
The team brought their speedway car to Jennerstown after a practice crash with their short track machine two weeks ago at the Indianapolis Raceway Park (IN). They fought handling problems all night at Jennerstown, but overcame that for a solid finish.
"The car was real loose when we started," said Leicht. "It was fast towards the end of the first half of the race and we came in and put on right-side tires. We also made an adjustment and that got the car a little too tight. After about 20 laps, we could start gaining on the guys in front of us. They were getting a little loose and we could really gain some ground."
A late, long green-flag run of racing helped Leicht gain several positions, but a red flag with 26 laps to go hurt Leicht's chances of making up much more ground before the finish.
"When we had that red flag, everyone got to cool their stuff off," explained Leicht. "That just killed us. The car got tight on the restart and it got better with about two laps to go, but it was too late by then."
The best news of the night was that the race for the Rookie of the Year battle closed up considerably. It is now a three-man battle between Wade Day, Casey Smith and Leicht.
"We finished seventh and gained a ton of points on the lead in the Rookie of the Year race," said Leicht, with a smile. "We are going to be very close together now. We were the highest rookie tonight and considering what we had to go through, that's pretty good."
The Rookie of the Year crown was Leicht's main goal for the 2004 season, but a good points' finish is also possible for the WalTom team.
"We'd still like to finish in the top five," stated Leicht. "We had a few bad races and that really hurt us. You get so far behind and we are doing all that we can to gain it all back. It looks like we might have a little bit of luck starting to go our way."
It might be a good stretch of the schedule for Leicht's team. Earlier this season, he showed his strength on the speedways and nearly won at Kentucky. The final five races include another stop at the Kentucky Speedway, as well as three other tracks of at least one mile in length.
"Going to the bigger tracks, we'll be very strong," said Leicht. "We have our game on at the bigger tracks. We've got our set-ups down perfect and right now, some of the other guys are going to be playing catch-up to us."
In his time off from the ASA National Series, Leicht has been keeping busy building an ASA Late Model. He debuted that car last week with a strong seventh-place run in The Miller Classic at Madison International Speedway (WI). Leicht competed against the likes of Matt Kenseth, Dick Trickle, Steve Carlson and Todd Kluever in the prestigious event.
To say that he had fun is an understatement.
"I love that car," said Leicht. "We ran that type of car for three years from when I was 12 until I was 15. I won a championship in a car like that and I just love the way it drives. I can't wait until I get to do it again."
Leicht will get that chance this weekend as he plans to compete in the ASA Late Model Series at the Calhoun County Speedway (MI). His next ASA National Series event will be in two weeks, on Sunday, August 29th, at the Milwaukee Mile (WI).
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.