Early last week, the team wasn't sure Zach would be able to compete with the Spring Nationals Series at Senoia Raceway this past weekend. Major damage was incurred to our Super Dirt Late Model on the Saturday prior at East Alabama Motor Speedway. The team had gone to EAMS to compete with the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series. Our night ended abruptly on the first lap of Zach's heat race when another driver spun in front of Zach and there was no time for Zach to react. Zach t-boned the driver and our Rocket XR1 sustained heavy frontend damage. Both Zach and the other driver were fine thankfully. However, we were pretty sure the front clip of the car was bent which is a costly repair. Plus the car would have to be taken to Rocket Chassis in West Virginia to have the clip replaced.

Zach and his dad went down to Clint Smith's shop one day last week and after a very detailed inspection, Clint felt confident he could repair the damage. Clint made the repair and now we would have to wait until Zach went back on the track on the first night of the Spring Nats on Friday to see how the car would handle.

Twenty-eight of some of the most competitive regional and national drivers were at Senoia Raceway Friday for night #1 of the Spring Nationals Series. Zach was 15th in hot laps (a short practice session) and thought the car's handling felt good. Following hot laps, Zach decided on a few adjustments that would hopefully make the car faster in qualifying.

The drivers were divided into two groups for qualifying -- Group A and Group B. The top two fastest drivers from each group would be locked into the A Main. The remaining drivers would have to run in heat races and only a select number of drivers would transfer into the A Main from the heats. The remaining drivers would be eliminated from the competition.

Zach was one of the last drivers to go out to qualify in Group B. His first lap wasn't bad -- 4th quickest. However, on his 2nd lap he jumped to the top of the leader board and would be starting the A Main on the outside of the front row!

The first 20 laps of the feature contained a few cautions, but Zach was able to get good restarts and stayed securely in P2. The second half of the race, Zach was battling hard for positions with Bloomquist, Clanton, Clint Smith and Michael Page. At one point, Zach went 4-wide coming out of turn 2 with Bloomquist, Clanton and Smith. By lap 29, Zach had settled into P5 and that is where he finished.

Zach takes us through the race, "For the first half of the race I was able to stay around the top of the track. During the second half of the race my tires got overheated and I wasn't able to maintain the same lap times so a few other drivers were able to catch me and make passes. The track was in perfect condition for 3 and 4 wide racing. I'm sure the fans enjoyed watching it. I cannot thank Clint Smith enough for working so hard to make the repairs and providing me with such a competitive racecar. My dad also spent alot of time at Clint's shop working on our Limited car but due to an electrical issue, the car cut off in hot laps and we weren't able to race in that division. We will go to Clint's shop early in the morning tomorrow to try to get that issue fixed. Looking forward to Day 2".

There were a few more drivers for Day 2 of the Spring Nats. 33 drivers would be competing for one of the 22 spots in the $10,000 to win feature. Once again Zach was in Group B. He was 4th quickest in hot laps and appeared to be picking up where he left off from the previous night. Dale McDowell was sitting on the pole with a 16.393 for Group B when Zach went out to qualify. Zach's best lap was a 16.398 -- he missed the top spot by 5 one-thousandths!

Tonight though no one was locked into the A Main. All drivers would have to compete in heat races to secure a spot. Zach started on the pole of the 4th and final 10-lap heat race. He went on to lead every lap and won his heat by 2.278 seconds over Ivedent Lloyd. He was now locked into the A Main while the remaining drivers who did not lock in through the heat races would have to run B Mains.

Zach was also able to compete in the Limited division. He qualified 8th out of 19 drivers and finished in P6. Immediately following the 20-lap Limited feature, Zach had to swap cars and strap into his super for the 60-lap A Main for the Super division.

Zach started P4 in A Main. Clint Smith and Dale McDowell led the field to the green flag. The track was pretty racy for the first half of the race and Zach had settled into P5. Those top 5 drivers began catching lap traffic and had to quickly manuever around them. On lap 18 Zach lost a position as they were racing through lap traffic. He then settled into P6 as the bottom of the track rubbered up making the racing surface faster along that racing groove. The top two had a secure lead over P3-P6 who were nose to tail, intensely following each other lap after lap along the bottom grove of the track. No one attempted to make a pass because if they fell out of the bottom grove they would most likely lose grip and lose positions. Each driver was focused on the driver in front of them in hopes they would make a mistake which would open up the opportunity to make a pass. On lap 41, the driver in front of Zach got loose and fell out of the grove momentarily -- just long enough for Zach to be able to make a pass and secure P5 behind Clint Smith. Zach finished the race in P5 -- another top five finish!

Zach explains, "I was really happy we were able to come back tonight in the Super and be competitive right from the start. Was really hoping the track would have stayed with multiple grooves throughout the entire feature but overall the track did a great job with track prep this weekend. Glad we fixed the issue with the Limited car and was able to race. Have to give a shoutout to Logan Williamson, Max Tison and my dad for all of their work in the pits and to Marty Lunsford to helping us get the super car into the infield since we were racing Limited and Super back to back. Also have to thank all of our supporters: EDI, Napa of Kennesaw, Clint Smith Racing, GW Performance, Hoosier by Brian, Tray Sees Photography and Motorsports Engine.

Leonhardi Motorsports, LLC

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