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Author: ZachPR

Zach Leonhardi moving to dirt late model in 2016

The 14 year-old from Cartersville, GA will be moving up to a Dirt Late Model next year. Zach got back to his dirt racing roots this year by racing a Legend car on dirt at Senoia Raceway and Cochran Motor Speedway. He was able to transition from asphalt very well and had three wins at Senoia and finished 2nd in track points at Senoia Raceway.

Although the majority of Zach’s racing career has been on asphalt, it actually began on dirt at age 5 in a go-kart. At age 8, he made the move to asphalt in a Bandolero car and also ran a few races on dirt in a Bandolero at West Georgia Speedway. Not long after he turned 12, he was ready for a new challenge and moved to Legend cars on asphalt. The following year he was awarded “Rookie Legend Driver of the Year” in the Thursday Thunder series at Atlanta Motor Speedway. After bringing home a 6th place finish overall at the INEX Winter Nationals in February 2015, Zach tested in a Dirt Legend at Senoia Raceway. The team decided to primarily focus on racing a Dirt Legend for the remainder of 2015 while racing on larger asphalt tracks on a more limited basis.

Zach stated, “I am so excited about the next step in my racing career and cannot wait to start practicing in the Late Model. I would like to thank my parents, family, friends, sponsors and marketing partners for all of their support with my racing throughout the years.”

Facebook: Leonhardi Motorsports

Twitter/Instagram: @zlracing24

Website: www.leonhardimotorsports.com

Zach Helps Support Dirt Nationals

IMG_0250Leonhardi Motorsports is proud to help promote the 2015 INEX Dirt Nationals at Cleveland Speedway October 8-10th. One of Zach's legend cars has been given a new look and will be used to help promote the event at various locations throughout the Cleveland, TN area. People can register at these locations for a chance to win a family four-pack of tickets to the feature events on October 10th. The car will also be on display at the track during the Nationals.

Although Zach will not be competing at the Nationals, the team is planning on attending to support the drivers from around the United States and Australia who will be participating.

Hope to see you there!

Zach Suffers "Xtreme" Bad Luck at Senoia

The Xtreme Racing Series arrived at Senoia Raceway Labor Day weekend. Zach was excited about competing for $1,000 on his home turf. It was determined during the drivers' meeting instead of two 25-lap segments, the drivers would run one 30-lap segment. Qualifying went well with Zach securing the outside pole for the feature race. On the start, Zach was shuffled back to the 3rd spot but by lap 3 he had secured the 2nd position. He was running down the leader fast. As the leader went into turn one, he spun out all by himself and Zach had nowhere to go but straight into him. It was a hard hit but both drivers were ok. Unfortunately the damage was too severe for Zach to continue on in the race.

Zach explained, "I'm really disappointed because the car was handling perfectly. I felt we had a car that could win. Congrats to Jason Treschl on his first win in a dirt legend. He was overdue for that win!"

With only one race left at Senoia for track points this season, the team has decided to sit out the final race. Zach said, "We are working on something for the 2016 season and want to put all of our focus into that at this point. We have also decided not to run INEX Dirt Nationals in Tennessee. An announcement will be made in the near future about our 2016 plans. I would like to thank FinishMaster, Engine Distributors, Inc., Castrol, and NAPA of Kennesaw, and my family and friends for all of their support this year. Next year will be very exciting and I can't wait to share the news with everyone."

Zach Experiences Bad Luck at Cochran

The team returned to Cochran Motor Speedway last Saturday night for an INEX dirt qualifier. During practice, Zach struggled a little bit with the car's handling so the crew chief went to work and made some changes. Zach started 4th off of a pill draw but quickly secured the 2nd place position once the race went green. Shortly after completing the first lap Zach passed the #56 for the lead in turns one and two. As Zach approached the flagstand to complete the 2nd lap, he was under heavy pressure from #56. As they went into turn #1, the #56 went low underneath Zach to pass. However, contact from the #56 resulted in Zach getting a little loose and he lost the lead. Zach continued down the backstretch and as he was turning into turn #3 the car over-rotated and Zach almost spun out. However, Zach was able to make a fantastic save without losing a spot. He continued down the front stretch and as he was turning into turn #1 the car over-rotated once again. Zach was completely sideways and almost had come to a stop when the driver in 3rd place came into turn #1 at full speed and slammed into Zach. It was a very hard impact with debris showering up into the air from the cars. Luckily the drivers were fine, however, both cars sustained heavy damage and could not continue on in the race.

Zach explained, "After the contact from the #56, the car's handling just went downhill. I couldn't get the car to turn and almost lost it in turn three. Same thing happened going into turn one. It appears from a video that contact from the 56's rear bumper cut down my left rear tire so I had a tire going down. We were racing really hard and I knew there was contact but didn't realize my tire had been damaged. It's really unfortunate and I feel bad for the driver who ran into me with nowhere to go and also had heavy damage."

As long as the repairs are completed on Zach's car, the team plans to return to Senoia Raceway this Saturday, 8/29. Then Labor Day weekend the Xtreme Racing Series comes to Senoia. The legends will qualify Friday evening (9/4) then run two 25-lap segment feature races on Saturday evening (9/5). The winner of the Legends Xtreme race will win $1,000! Senoia will also run it's regular weekly racing program that night.

DIRT NATIONALS UPDATE: The location for the 2015 INEX Dirt Nationals has been changed! The Nationals will be held at Cleveland Speedway in Cleveland, TN in October!

Zach Finishes 6th at Xtreme Race at Anderson

This past Friday evening the team participated in the inaugural race in the Xtreme Racing Series at Anderson Motor Speedway, the "Showdown at Sundown". This event consisted of single-lap qualifying for the legends. The top ten in qualifying would then compete in a 10-lap shootout race to determine each of the top 10's starting order in the 1st 25-lap feature race. The drivers who qualified outside of the top 10 would start the first segment based on where they qualified in single-lap qualifying. Following the first segment, the drivers would go back to their pits and make adjustments to their cars for the 2nd 25-lap segment. There was no time limit placed on either 25-lap segment and no limit to the number of Green-White-Checker flag attempts so it appeared that it was going to be a long night.

Twenty-six legend drivers were participating in the event. It was a very tough field which included some of the top drivers in the country. Anderson is a banked 3/8 mile oval and is tough on tire wear.

In practice, Zach was having difficulty with the handling of the car. The crew went to work and made some changes prior to qualifying. Unfortunately Zach's qualifying did not go well. He qualified 17th -- not at all where he wanted to be. The crew went back to work to help Zach with the handling of the car.

As the field took the green in the 1st 25-lap segment, fireworks were exploding in the air in turns 3 & 4. There were several cautions where cars wrecked in front of Zach and he was able to avoid making contact. Zach was carefully making his way through the field. The caution came out with two laps remaining in the first segment and Zach would restart 12th. As the field was coming out of turn four to complete lap 24, the leaders made contact and several cars spun. Cars started to scatter in turns 3 & 4 to avoid wrecking and a car made hard contact with Zach's right rear. Zach came into the pits with a flat right rear tire. The crew quickly changed the tire and sent Zach back out on the track but he would have to restart in the rear of the field. There was a green-white-checker finish and the 1st segment was completed. Zach finished the first segment in 17th position. However, the winner of the first segment is disqualified due to weighing 3 pounds light of the required minimum weight on the scales in tech.

The first segment lasted 34 minutes. The crew went to work to make changes to improve the handling of Zach's car in the 2nd segment. The team's strategy was to take it easy in the first segment to help preserve the tires for the 2nd segment. There was a $1,000 prize for the winner of the 2nd segment so we expected there to be some intense racing action.

Twenty-four cars started the 2nd 25-lap final segment of the event. Zach started in 16th. With one lap complete the caution came out due to several cars making contact in turns 1 & 2 in front of Zach. There would be four more attempts to complete the second lap, however, the caution flew repeatedly due to cars spinning and wrecking mainly in turns 1 & 2. It would be 20 minutes before the second lap would be completed and Zach was now up to 8th place. The race continued caution-free until lap 23. Zach had been racing hard and had worked his way up to 5th at one point but lost a few spots right before the caution came out. It would be another green-white-checker finish and Zach was restarting in 9th place. The final laps were very exciting with an intense battle going on with the leader through 4th place. The leaders took the white flag and the pack Zach was racing with (5th - 10th place) were racing really hard. As they were coming out of turn four, one driver in Zach's pack got loose and Zach was able to take it three-wide and shoot through an opening. It was a drag race to the finish line and Zach finished in 6th place just inches ahead of the 7th place car.

Zach may have finished the race overall in 6th place, however, he was the top finishing driver in his division, Semi Pro! Only drivers in the Pro division finished ahead of Zach. The second segment lasted 49 minutes.

Zach stated, "In the first segment I tried to stay out of trouble and save my tires for the 2nd segment. I knew everyone was going to be racing really hard in the 2nd segment. I gave it all I had the final lap and am really happy with my finish. The competition was really tough and I had the experience to race with some of the best drivers in the country. This event was very challenging but also a lot of fun. I would like give a special thanks to Scott & Joshua Hicks, Joey Padgett, and my dad for getting my tire changed so quickly in the 1st segment. Also I would like to thank my sponsors and marketing partners for all of their support and to the Xtreme Racing Series and Anderson Motor Speedway for making this event happen."

Next weekend on Saturday, 8/22, the team will return to Cochran Motor Speedway in South Georgia to compete in an INEX Dirt Qualifier for the Nationals. There are only a few more dirt legend races left this year. Here are the dates:

8/22 -- Cochran Motor Speedway INEX Dirt Qualifier
8/29 -- Senoia Raceway
9/4-9/5 -- Xtreme Racing Series Driven Steering Wheels Duel in the Dirt Twin 25's at Senoia Raceway. Qualifying Friday, Feature Races on Saturday.
9/12 -- Cochran Motor Speedway Dirt Legends of GA Double Points Race
9/19 -- Senoia Raceway Final Race of the Season

The team will also participate in the INEX Dirt Nationals in Crossville, TN on 10/8-10/10.

Zach Delivers Two Top Three Finishes at Senoia

On July 25th, Zach returned to Senoia, hoping to have better results than the previous night at the track when he ran double features. The legends lined up for their feature based on a pill draw -- Zach drew outside pole (2nd). Zach spent most of the race, which went caution-free, chasing the #13 car of Bubba Harry for the lead. A mistake in turns 1 and 2 cost Zach some time and he had to work his way to the 13's bumper. Just as he was about to battle the #13 for the lead, Zach made the same mistake in 1 and 2 and almost spun out but was able to save it. This time the mistake cost him a few spots. He immediately went to work and started picking cars off and had his eye on the second place driver, Dwight Pilgram. Zach was edging closer and closer as the laps were ticking down. As they were coming to the checkered flag, they were side-by-side with Zach taking 2nd place by inches!

This past Saturday night Zach was back in action at Senoia. He started 4th in the 1st legends heat race. The drivers took the green flag and as they were going into turn one, the pole sitter, Jason Treschl, got loose and got totally sideways. The other drivers all made evasive moves to avoid contact and somehow no contact was made. Zach darted to the inside and was able clear the melee. He took the lead coming out of turn four and never looked back. He lead all six laps of the heat race securing the pole for the feature.

In the feature race, Zach was only able to complete one green-flag lap before the caution waved for a car spinning in turn four. On the restart Zach was able to retain the lead. The #13 of Bubba Harry had been putting pressure on Zach but by lap six Zach was starting to pull away and had a little breathing room. As Zach was attempting to lap the last place car in the middle of turns 1 & 2, the lapped car suddenly lost control, darting up three lanes and made hard contact with Zach, spinning Zach's car around on the track as they came out of turn 2. The lapped car actually had a flat right front tire and could not get the car to turn down. Zach had to restart in the rear of the field with the toe on his car knocked out by an inch and a half. Frustrated but determined, Zach started picking off cars, working his way to the leaders. A car spinning brought out a much needed caution. Zach restarted 4th and was able to quickly make the pass for 3rd. He started chasing down the leaders who were in a very heated battle. He caught them and on the last lap he made an aggressive move to try to beat them to the checkered flag but came up a little short and finished 3rd. Zach stated, "After the contact with the 28, it was apparent the front tow had been knocked out. We discovered after the race it was about a inch and half off and it did affect the handling of the car some. I gave it everything I had but ran out of laps. The car was really fast tonight."

This Friday, August 14th, Zach will be competing in probably the biggest race he's ever run in a legend car to date. It's the Xtreme Racing Series at Anderson Motor Speedway (Williamston, SC), SHOWDOWN AT SUNDOWN. Some of the top legend drivers will be competing for the $1,000 1st place prize. The race will consist of two 25-lap segments. After the first segment the drivers will take their cars to the pits and be in "parc ferme" or "impound". The crew chiefs will be allowed to make certain adjustments to the car but nothing can be done to the tires.

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Zach Finishes 4th at Cochran Motor Speedway

The team headed to south Georgia Saturday, July 18, to compete at Cochran Motor Speedway. In hot laps, Zach thought the car handled very well. There would be no heat races, therefore the feature would lineup based off of pill draw which placed Zach starting outside pole. Just as the legends were making their way to the grid, rain began to fall. The drivers headed back to their pits to wait out the rain. It was after midnight when the legends were finally able to race. The track's crew had worked really hard to get the track back into race condition, but it was still slick due to the rainfall. On the initial start Zach was able to make a pass for the lead but a car spinning out brought out the caution on two occasions. Zach was able to take the lead going into turn one and was able to lead 4 laps. On lap 5, the second place car dove to Zach's inside going into turn 3 and Zach lost grip, due to the slick track conditions, and went off the track into the grass (there is no wall) and had to drive around the outside of the turn then back onto the front stretch. Surprisingly no caution came out and Zach found himself half a lap behind the leaders when he re-entered the track. The race continued caution-free and was shortened to 10 laps due to time. Zach finished in 4th place.

"I was really surprised no caution came out when I went off of the track", Zach explained. "The car just lost grip going into turn 3 but after I got back on the track the car handled really well. I think I had a winning car tonight but I just didn't have a chance to catch up to the leaders. I would like to thank my sponsors, marketing partners and my family for all of their support. I am hoping we can get back to Victory Lane soon!"

Zach will be returning to Senoia Raceway this Saturday, July 25th. He will also be competing in the "Showdown at Sundown" at Anderson Motor Speedway on Friday, August 14th. It's a special event for the legends in the Xtreme Racing Series. This will be a very different race for Zach -- it will consist of two 25-lap segments. After the first segment the drivers can pit and make changes except for tires. Zach is looking forward to returning to Anderson to compete in this race.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

This past weekend Zach competed at Anderson Motor Speedway and Senoia Raceway (double features).

Let's begin with --

THE GOOD:

At Anderson, Zach qualified 4th out of 17 legends. At Senoia, Zach had qualified the previous week to start the 1st feature on outside pole. Mother Nature was actually cooperating this weekend and although it was extremely hot the chances of rain were slim. There were 16 legends racing at Senoia -- the largest field we have had to date.

THE BAD:

At Anderson the race was filled with numerous cautions but Zach was able to stay out of trouble and remain in the top 5..... until the halfway point of the race. Zach had exited turn 2 and was racing down the backstretch when another driver to Zach's inside made contact with Zach. Zach avoided spinning out but could not avoid sliding down into the inside pit wall. Luckily, the damage was minimal and he was able to continue. There were 13 cars remaining in the race; however, on the restart two cars got together going into turn one. The race had reached it's time limit and the track officials declared the race "complete". This placed Zach in 11th place. Following the race the driver that made contact with Zach apologized and explained he did not see Zach on his outside. Zach explained, "We were a top 4 or 5 car the entire race until that contact. I feel I could have worked my way back up into the top 5 if the race had gone the full 20 laps."

THE UGLY:

The legends were running double features at Senoia Raceway Saturday night. The first feature was the INEX National Dirt Qualifier being makeup from the previous week when rain ended the racing action early at Senoia. The legends were the first feature of the night. Zach spent most of the race running in 2nd position battling for the lead. There were several cautions but Zach remained focused on finding a way to get around the leader. It was an intense battle and with two laps to go, Zach was able to make a clean pass. Shortly after he made the pass the caution came out due to a car spinning out. The field lined up for the restart and Zach led the field to the green flag. The drivers were battling hard as they were making the approach to the white flag. Zach still had the lead but suddenly there was hard contact from the 2nd place car sending Zach into a spin on the front stretch with a few other cars slowing to avoid contact. No caution came out and Zach crossed the finish line in 8th place.

Below are two videos from the first legend's feature at Senoia. One is an outside view, the other is a combined video from Zach's two go pros that are on his car (one facing forward, one facing rear).

The legend's second feature was also the final feature of the night. Several of the teams had been working hard making repairs from damage they sustained in the first feature. It was after midnight when they finally went to the grid. The starting order was determined by a pill draw and Zach was starting 13th out of 15 cars placing him in the back of the pack. The drivers were informed the feature would be shortened from 15 laps to 12 laps. When the green flag dropped, the driver in front of Zach did not get a very good start. Zach dove down to his inside and proceeded to make a pass. As Zach approached turn one he realized he was carrying too much speed. Although he locked up the brakes, he wasn't able to avoid hitting the #90 of Jason Treschl in the left rear. Another car, the #72 of Robbie Woodall was also collected. Both drivers sustained too much damage and could not continue to race. Zach stayed out, however, when the field was taking the green on the restart, Zach realized he had a flat right front tire and he pulled off the track. Zach said, "I completely misjudged some of the other drivers' braking points and hit Jason in the wheel and it collected Robbie. It was 100% my fault. I just feel terrible. Jason and Robbie have always raced me clean and I know how hard they work to prepare their cars. I just need to look to the positive, learn from it and move on to next week." Zach was shown finishing in 12th place.

The team will be at Cochran Motor Speedway this Saturday, July 18th. We are hoping for better luck this week!

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INEX Dirt Qualifier Postponed Until July 11th at Senoia

After a weekend of being rained out from two different racetracks, Zach was ready to get back on the track. Friday evening (7/3), the legends took qualifying laps and raced in heat races to set the lineup for the INEX Dirt National Qualifier on July 4th at Senoia. Zach ran the 2nd fastest qualifying time of the legend drivers and started pole of the 2nd heat race. He led every lap and secured the outside pole for the feature the following night. Not only was it an INEX Dirt National Qualifier, but it was also paying out $500 to the winner.

On Saturday, July 4th, the team headed back to Senoia. It had rained a great deal overnight and earlier that morning. The crew at the track was working hard on getting the track conditions race ready for the night. Zach went out for hot laps and thought the car was handling well. However, the weather took a turn and per the radar it appeared rain was imminent. The track revised the order of events and was able to get in four of the main features of the night. However, the rain began coming down and the track had to postponed the remaining features.

Therefore, next weekend will be a busy one for Zach. Friday evening (7/10) the team will return to Anderson Motor Speedway to makeup the race from June 26th due to a rainout. On Saturday (7/11) the team will return to Senoia Raceway and Zach will be racing double features. The first feature he will race will be the makeup race from July 4th. Once all of the makeup races from July 4th are completed, the track will begin its regularly weekly scheduled races (qualifying and heats) and Zach will run a 2nd feature race.

For more information about the races Zach will be competing at this weekend, go to the links below:

http://andersonmotorspeedway.com/

http://senoiaraceway.com/events/121/kajun-mini-stock-special-2000-to-win-candy-scramble-racing-racing-racing/

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Mother Nature Wins Again

Mother Nature was the big winner this past weekend. The team traveled to Anderson Motor Speedway Friday, June 26th. However, not long after they arrived the weather took a turn and the races were cancelled. The race will be makeup on Friday, July 10th. Then on Saturday, 6/27, the team had plans to race at Senoia but that race was also cancelled due to inclement weather. The following day the team went to watch some awesome dirt racing up at Rome Speedway so the weekend wasn't a complete washout.

The weekend of July 4th will be very exciting. Senoia Raceway is hosting the Billy Clanton Memorial Race weekend. On Friday evening all divisions except Super Late Models will qualify and/or run heat races to set the starting positions for the features on Saturday. The track is expecting some of the best Super Late Model drivers in the county to compete on Saturday. There will be larger purses for all divisions and it will also be an INEX National Qualifier for the Legend Car Dirt Championship race coming up in October in Crossville, TN.

Here is a link for more info about this weekend's double-header event at Senoia and we hope to see you at the races!

BILLY CLANTON MEMORIAL RACE WEEKEND INFORMATION & SCHEDULE « Senoia Raceway

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