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Leicht, Childress Vineyard’s Chevy Sidelined at Talladega

Stephen Leicht
Stephen Leicht
 
 
Stephen Leicht, driver of the No. 21 Childress Vineyard’s Chevrolet, was sidelined after being collected in the notorious “big one” that consumed 15 cars on lap 72 in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway.

While the end result was less than desirable, Leicht was competitive on the race track all weekend. The 21-year-old driver was eighth-fastest in Thursday’s final practice session and was strong in qualifying the following day.

In time trials Friday afternoon, Leicht toured the behemoth 2.66-mile Alabama track in 52.150 seconds (183.624 mph). The lap proved to be the 13th-fastest time of the session, lining up the Asheville, N.C., native on the inside of row seven for Saturday’s spring classic at Talladega.

When the green flag waved in front of an estimated 80,000 race fans, Leicht settled into a rhythm and began biding his time in search of his second consecutive top-10 finish in the young 2008 NASCAR Nationwide season.

The Childress Vineyards Chevrolet was strong and it showed. Leicht was able to hang around the front of the enormous pack of cars until the “big one” occurred on lap 72. Drivers behind the incident maneuvered in all directions to avoid the spinning cars which ultimately sent other cars spinning. Leicht tried to avoid the on-track chaos but ended up getting collected when another car struck him from behind.

Unable to drive the battered No. 21 machine back to the garage, Leicht was forced to go to the infield care center where he was examined and released. Once the Childress Vineyards Chevrolet returned to the garage the Shane Wilson-led team realized it was too damaged to make repairs. The No. 21 team was forced to settle for a 34th-place finish.

Tony Stewart won the event followed by David Stremme, Bobby Hamilton Jr., Jason Leffler and Mark Green.

Leicht’s Richard Childress Racing teammates, Scott Wimmer and Clint Bowyer, finished ninth and 25th, respectively.

STEPHEN LEICHT - NO. 21 CHILDRESS VINEYARD’S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS –
“I thought we had a car that could win the race. I was just trying to bide my time until it was time to battle for the lead. I am not really sure what happened, I just tried to maneuver around the wreck but I think I got hit from behind which sent me into the wall. I need to thank Richard (Childress), Childress Vineyards and all the No. 21 guys for giving me a car capable of winning this race.”


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