Young Stephen Leicht Scores First Career ASA Podium Finish 17-year-old Has Early Lead in the ASA Rookie Point Standings CHICAGO, IL (March 31, 2004) -- Stephen Leicht has always been accustomed to doing things at a young age. Well, the...
Young Stephen Leicht Scores First Career ASA Podium Finish
17-year-old Has Early Lead in the ASA Rookie Point Standings
CHICAGO, IL (March 31, 2004) -- Stephen Leicht has always been accustomed to doing things at a young age. Well, the 17-year-old has done it again by being numero-uno in the $50,000 Rookie of the Year point standings following his third-place finish in the SK Hand Tools 200 at USA International Speedway in Lakeland (FL) on Saturday night. It was also Leicht's debut with the WalTom Racing team's Driver Development Program, led by legendary ASA crew chief Howie Lettow.
"What a team and what a night," said Leicht, standing on the front-stretch after earning his first career top-five finish in just his 10th ASA start. "The team is awesome. They work together great. We communicate like we've been together for years. Wally and Tom (Gleitsman, team owners) are awesome. We did everything that we needed to do today to get the job done. There wasn't one thing that we missed here tonight.
"On the last stop, Howie made a call to put on left-side tires and it was just perfect. The car was a rocket after that. Early on we were a little worried because the car was a little tight. You can't win it early, so we decided to sit back and ride a little bit and make some laps. It was all about coming in and working on the car and making it better. The first couple stops we made some adjustments. The car just got better and better and by the end, we had a car that could have won the race had we had more time. What a great way to start this whole deal off."
Leicht impressed everyone all weekend long by consistently turning some of the top times in practice and topping the speed charts on Friday. When qualifying came around, Leicht posted the second-fastest time of the 48 cars on hand.
Leicht kept the CITGO #4 up front most of the evening. In fact, he was as high as second during the middle part of the event. After the late pit stop for fresh tires, Leicht moved his way up through the field at a blistering pace, making it up to third when the checkers fell.
"I think we would have had something for Butch (Miller, race winner) and Travis (Kittleson) if we would have just had 10 or so more laps. We were really coming up through the field. I have to hand it to a lot of guys who really gave us some room to pass them when they knew we were faster. No one made it easy, but they didn't try to hold me up either.
"All in all, I don't think I could have asked for a better debut with this team. I really believe we can run like this all year long with a guy like Howie calling the shots and owners like Wally and Tom. This is a great deal."
Leicht sits third in the ASA point standings, just 12 points behind leader Travis Kittleson. He leads the rookie standings by 14 points over Casey Smith. The next event for Leicht and the WalTom team will be May 1st at Lanier (GA) National Speedway.
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 .