Brandon Lemke notched the biggest victory of his young career on Saturday by winning the Paramount Limited Late Model portion of the Bobby Isaac Memorial at Hickory Motor Speedway.
Lemke, wheeling the No. 22 for Leicht Motorsports Driver Development, started the 50-lap race from the sixth position at the three-eighths-mile asphalt oval. He quickly moved up to fifth on the initial restart and followed that up by moving into the fourth position after an early-race restart.
Another restart midway through the race again opened the door for Lemke, who went from fourth to third before another caution flag waved. On the ensuing restart Lemke quickly challenged Gage Painter for second, muscling his way into the runner-up position after a few laps of side-by-side racing.
After fending off a challenge for second from Pat Rachels, Lemke set off in pursuit of race leader Taylor Gray. He slowly closed the gap on Gray, who appeared to be battling motor issues.
With eight laps left Lemke made his move, diving to the inside of Gray entering turn one. Lemke cleared him coming out of turn two to take the lead and once out front the 18-year-old driver turned on the afterburner, pulling away to a comfortable victory.
The victory is Lemke’s second of the season at Hickory Motor Speedway in the Paramount Limited Late Model division. He earned his first victory of the year – and also his first victory in a stock car – on July 14.
“I can’t believe I ended up winning this race,” said Lemke following his victory in round nine of the Paramount Kia Big 10 Challenge. “All I was worried about was driving my line and hitting my marks every time. Soon enough, I was battling for the lead with some fast competitors.”
Lemke admitted he didn’t realize the importance of the Bobby Isaac Memorial until after the race when his spotter, Matt Leicht, spoke to him over the radio.
“My spotter, Matt Leicht, said to me over the radio when the race was finished, ‘You have no idea what you just did, kid.’ He was right, I had no idea what I won since I was just treating it like a normal race. Well now I know it’s not a normal race, it’s the Bobby Isaac Memorial and we just won it.
“I couldn’t have done it without Leicht Driver Development. They brought an awesome car and put in a lot of hard work. I have to say thank you to Champion Auto Parts, MPM Marketing, my mom and dad for letting me do this and all my friends and family supporting me along the way.”
Eugene Leicht, co-owner of Leicht Motorsports Driver Development alongside his wife Rebecca, was impressed with what he saw on Saturday night out of Lemke.
“Winning on any given night at Hickory is hard, but winning the Bobby Isaac Memorial is incredibly hard,” Leicht said. “Brandon did a fantastic job bringing home the hardware tonight and he did it the hard way. That’s a win to be proud of and we’re certainly proud of what Brandon and the Leicht Motorsports team did tonight.”