Leonard lands $1,000 STIMS win at I-37

Cody Leonard pulled away from the pack on his way to Saturday’s $1,000 South Texas IMCA Modified Series feature win at I-37 Speedway.

By JM Hallas

PLEASANTON, Texas (June 15, 2024) – Cody Leonard landed a $1,000 punch when the South Texas IMCA Modifieds Series (STIMS) returned to do battle at I-37 Speedway on Saturday night.

The series’ fourth trip to the track this season saw Leonard front on lap three and in charge the rest of the way en route to Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational qualifying eligibility.

“I’ll be honest. I did not feel good in the heat race. I really didn’t feel too good at the start of the feature even though we went forward,” he admitted afterwards. “This place was kind of low and slow which fits my driving style. We went back to some stuff we were doing in 2020 when we were really good, really quick. It’s sort of a hybrid now that we got the car redone.”

“Going back to some old things helped us pick the speed back up.”

As the 20-lap main event for Friesen Performance IMCA Modifieds roared to life, Chris Morris grabbed the point pursued by Leonard, Chris Carroll, Brian Harbison and Logan Dinsmore. Leonard began looking low on Morris getting alongside on lap two and taking over the top spot on lap three. 

Carroll slipped high, allowing Harbison to take a look low. Harbison was unable to get by Carroll and lost a spot to Dinsmore in the process before a lap six caution.

Leonard jumped out on the restart with Dinsmore looking inside Carroll for third. Another caution slowed the pace again on lap eight. The ensuing restart got ugly fast as the pack stacked up on the front stretch collecting a handful of cars. Several were unable to continue, but there were no injuries.

Back to green, Leonard and Morris got away with Dinsmore and Ryan Doyon side-by-side for third. 

Dinsmore held the spot and tracked down Morris coming to the crossed flags showing Leonard, Morris, Dinsmore, Doyon and Carroll in the top five. Dinsmore then began a scrap with Morris for second. As they battled, however, Leonard checked out.

Doyon joined the second place battle between Dinsmore and Morris with Dinsmore finally getting the spot, but Leonard was gone. The only thing to slow Leonard was traffic the final couple laps while Doyon and Morris raced for third.

“This car (a 2018 Shaw) is my baby. We had redone a couple years ago and we’ve been trying to get the feeling back in it we had to where I like it. I think we’re finally headed back in that direction,” Leonard said. “Me, personally, I love a black, slick race track. It just fits my driving style. I think it brings a little more patience, a little more driver into it.”

“I do actually remember my first win. It was here, in 2015 I think, in Bill Pittaway’s SportMod,” he added, after seeing two other drivers take first-ever wins earlier in the program. “I think it was my fifth race in the car. It was kind of a flashback. They say the first one is hardest and after that they get a little easier.”

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