Sixth-Place Finish at Madison a Team Effort for 17-year-old Leicht Good Pit Stops Help Young Driver Make His Way to a Solid Finish CHICAGO, IL (July 19, 2004) -- When 17-year-old Stephen Leicht recorded a sixth-place finish in Saturday night's...
Sixth-Place Finish at Madison a Team Effort for 17-year-old Leicht
Good Pit Stops Help Young Driver Make His Way to a Solid Finish
CHICAGO, IL (July 19, 2004) -- When 17-year-old Stephen Leicht recorded a sixth-place finish in Saturday night's BFGoodrich Tire 250 at Madison International Speedway (WI), it was a true group effort for his WalTom Racing team.
"We had some great pit stops during the race and that helped us get a good finish," Leicht simply stated. "We gained five positions on our first stop of the night. It feels a lot better coming into the pits as a driver when you know that you won't be losing any spots."
Since passing at Madison is tough, any help in the pits is even more appreciated.
"It's hard to pass at Madison because there isn't much grip," Leicht said. "The pits are tight as well and there were a few close calls down there. Reed Sorenson had his night ruined when things got too close and he ran into Butch Miller. Thankfully, we were able to avoid any trouble."
Leicht has been spending time in the WalTom shops doing light fabrication work. He feels that not only does this help him understand the challenges that the crew faces, it also helps him develop further as a driver.
"When I'm around the shop and doing things, I can appreciate the work that these guys do more," explained Leicht. "That makes me want to keep the fenders on the car that much more when I'm driving it. It's tough to see how hard these guys work and then have to see them fix a wrecked car. Working on the cars also helps when it comes to knowing what changes to make. It helps as a driver to come in off the track and to know what changes will make the car faster."
After a layoff of over a month, Leicht was happy to get back into the driver's seat at Madison.
"I couldn't wait to race," said Leicht. "I felt like going 100 more laps at the end of the night. The car was really good on long runs. It took about five laps to get going and if we hadn't had so many cautions at the end, I think that we could have finished in the top five."
Leicht is looking to get a little more seat time when the ASA National Series next heads to Indianapolis Raceway Park on July 31st. His team is preparing an ASA Late Model to enter in the companion event at the track as well.
"We have been working really hard to get the Late Model ready," said Leicht. "It looks like we will barely get it done in time. Our ASA car is all ready to go and we're prepared for that race, so I can't wait to get racing again."
"I'm used to racing a few cars in one night," said Leicht, who is a former Late Model competitor from the Carolinas. "I love to race, and it feels great driving as much as I can. It's even better on those nights when you can win at least one race."
Leicht has a single previous ASA start at IRP. He drove a car for current ASA owner, Steve Dale, at the track when he was only 15 years old. It was his second career ASA start. He qualified eighth and finished 12th on that evening.
"We did pretty good back then, but now I think that we can do better," said Leicht. "I've learned a lot and we've got a good car. I really think that we have a good shot of winning this time out."
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.