Kevin Leicht Finds Lapped Cars in His Favor and Picks Up his 3 rd Win of 2006
By Adrian Sanders ASandersRYRE@carolina.rr.com
Kevin Leicht hoped to qualify on the pole and pick up an easy 3 rd win of the season, but a hard charging Nick Losito thought otherwise. Losito made some late race maneuvers to get a run on Leicht but was forced behind him several times due to lapped traffic. Leicht was able to hold of Losito by a mere fender and capture the victory at “Dodge Night at the Races”.
Kevin Leicht qualified his #32 Ford Fusion on the pole, with #64 Nick Losito starting on the outside for the second week in a row. At the drop of the green flag, 5 th place running #21 Brian Connor takes a look to the inside of #29 Andy Loden for 4 th , but he was unable to make the pass. Loden takes to the high side on lap 2 to get a run on #10 Andy Mercer just as Connor decides to take it low. They go 3-wide into turn 3 and Loden picks up 3 rd and leaves Mercer and Connor battling side by side for 4 th . Connor clears the car of Mercer one lap later to take over 4 th place. On lap 6, Brian Connor goes to the inside of Loden to try and take 3 rd just as caution comes out for the first time of the night for the #36 of Chase Maurer who apparently experienced mechanical troubles as he slowed in turns 3 and 4.
Kevin Leicht continued to lead for the restart, with Nick Losito hot on his trail. Andy Loden tried to take advantage of the restart and take a look on Losito, but he was unable to complete the pass. On lap 10, Brian Connor once again goes to the inside of Loden to challenge for 3 rd . This ended up being a 7 lap side by side battle until Connor finally prevailed and took over the spot. #92 Marc Davis made his first start in the Bojangle's Late Model Division Saturday night and on lap 14 moved into the top 5 after moving under Andy Mercer for 5 th .
This turned out to be a fierce battle for position as the two swapped positions 4 more times until lap 27 when Mercer was able to pull #74 James Hansen with him, sending Davis back to 7 th . Upfront, by lap 39, #64 Nick Losito was all over the bumper of Kevin Leicht to try and challenge for the lead. He looks to the inside of Leicht in turn 3 and they run side by side for several laps. On lap 43, #85 Bobby Measmer Jr. was going a lap down and stayed to the inside, forcing Losito to get back in line behind Leicht. But on lap 44, Losito goes back to the inside and is able to clear Leicht at the start/finish line. Leicht isn't ready to give up as he goes to the outside in turn 1. This forced Losito to battle again with lapped traffic as he gets behind Leicht again to clear the lapped #7 of Charlie Barham. As the field comes around to take the white flag, Losito and Leicht are bumper to bumper. As they go down the backstretch, Losito looks to the inside. They go into turn 3 side by side and off turn 4. The two touch at the line and Leicht pulls off the victory by only the length of his front fender. For the second week in a row, #64 Nick Losito has to settle for 2 nd place, just short of his first ever Bojangle's Late Model Division win. Rounding out the top 5 were #21 Brian Connor, #29 Andy Loden and #10 Andy Mercer.
Kevin Leicht had this to say in Victory Lane:
“Man, he made me work for that, I'm telling ya! He (Losito) probably had a little better car than I had, but we had some lapped cars out there that helped us out. I don't know if we could have won this race without that, but man that was awesome! I definitely had to work for that one. I thought I was done and I don't have any idea how I got back around him that last time. Then on the white flag lap, I just put my foot to the floor in the middle of the corner and cut it back to the right sideways. There isn't many people out there that will race you like Nick, he was under me several times and never did get into me, except right here across the line. But that was all my fault because I was half sideways. This was just a great run!”
The Limited Late Model Division started out the night with what seemed to be an all out demolition derby from 2 nd place on back. #92 Marc Davis led every lap from the pole, but it seemed his car was the only one without a scratch at race end. Late in the race the cautions started flying when #11 Rance Hume and #43 Jesse LeFevers tangled sending LeFevers almost into the tire barrier in turn 1. Then a few laps later while battling for 2 nd , #14 Brandon Cox dove off into turn 3, running into the door of #44 Matt DiBenedetto and resulting in a major pile up. Not even 2 laps went by again when DiBenedetto, trying to get back through the field, had #10 Andy Mercer under him on the front stretch. The two touched just enough to upset Mercer's car sending him into the inside wall towards turn 1. When the melee was over, Marc Davis was uncontested for the lead as he took the checkered flag followed by #55 Johnny Reynolds Jr., #44 Matt DiBenedetto, #35 Matt Scoggins and #11 Rance Hume. However, NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series Officials reported that #92 Marc Davis' car did not pass post-race technical inspection. This gave the win to #55 Johnny Reynolds in his first ever start at Hickory Motor Speedway.
Gary Ledbetter picked up another win in the J&J Roofing and Sandblasting Street Stock Division. Ledbetter was followed by #03 Kevin Eby, #54 Waylon Flynn, #64 Marshall Sutton and #08 Monty Cox.
In the Pro-4 Division, #86 Wayne Brown made it back to Victory Lane after a rough past few races. Following Brown was #55 Walter Hoke, #4 Adam Beaver, #1 Jacob Lehn and #75 Allen Huffman.
The Pro Challenge Series made another visit to Hickory Motor Speedway Saturday night. Corey Lajoie led the way most of the night and took home the victory followed by #51 Zach Stroupe, #20 John Stancill, #118 Devon Haun and #15 Scott Hitchens.Hickory Motor Speedway will be taking the weekend of July 1 st off in celebration of Independence Day. But join us Saturday July 8 th as Hickory welcomes the USAR Hooter's Pro Cup Division. It promises to be a sell out crowd and we hope to see you there!