Getting Up To Speed With…Pat Lechner
By Ben Deatherage
(Photo Courtesy of Ken O’Neil)
Pat Lechner ended his first year in a Modified by finishing fourth in points in the newly created Northwest Extreme Modified division at Sunset Speedway Park. The Forest Grove driver would have veteran driver Rob Ireland hop in the car a few times with Ireland even putting the mount in victory lane on one occasion. A fun fact about his chassis is that it is homebuilt from the ground up.
Lechner’s introduction to racing was when his stepfather was stationed in Hawaii while in the Navy. There both his stepfather Jeff Lewitz and his mother Sue would compete in the Street Stock ranks at the local tracks. It wasn’t until about three years ago that Pat Lechner starting racing at SSP after a couple of seasons at Madras Speedway.
Lechner will be back out at Sunset Speedway Park in 2014 possibly around mid-season due to funding. We got a chance to talk to him about the upcoming season, how he got involved into this great sport, and what he would like to accomplish in the future. Now let’s get up to speed with Pat Lechner.
Driver: Patrick Lechner
Home Track: Sunset Speedway Park
Hometown: Forest Grove, Oregon
Years Racing: 5
Classification: Northwest Extreme Modified
Team: Privateer Racing
Sponsors: Privateer Racing,
Special Thanks: Sue Lechner (Mother), Privateer Racing Team, Rob Ireland, Family (for putting up with us during the season)
BD: Well Pat what are some of your plans in 2014?
PL: Well I plan to be back out hopefully mid-season due to our budget. I’ve been tweaking with the chassis and making some improvements that I think will make it go faster. Rob Ireland and I built this car to prove that you can race on a budget and still be competitive all while still having fun.
BD: How exactly did you get your start in racing?
PL: When I was five my mom and stepdad were heavy into racing in Hawaii while he was stationed in the Navy. I remember going out with them to the races and even helping them wash their cars afterwards. They both ran in the Street Stocks and other “Bomber” type cars.
As we moved back stateside I was still into hot rods but not really racing. I didn’t go back to the racetracks until I was in the service stationed at Fort Hood down in Texas. I primarily went to races at Baytown (now Royal Purple) Speedway just outside of Houston and ended up working on some race teams.
When I got back up here I started racing Madras in the Street Stock class in a 1968 AMC Javelin. I didn’t start hanging around Banks until about three years ago. The first car I ran around there was a 1986 Chevy Camaro and Rob Ireland heard that I had homemade Modified chassis that I was putting together. Just before last season we became friends and with the rest of the Privateer Racing team they helped me build the car.
BD: Rob Ireland drove your car a couple of times how much did that help you?
PL: It actually helped a lot. It was nice since it was my first time in a Modified to have someone with some experience in it and find out what the car needed to make it faster. He also wanted to make sure it was safe for a first time driver.
BD: Why do you chose the #1?
PL: The reason I picked that number was because it was the first budget B-Mod out there, it just kind of fit.
BD: What are some of your goals that you have set for yourself either long or short term?
PL: My short term and long term goals are the same. I just want to be in good running cars and be a competitive team.
Sunset Speedway Park enters the 2014 season with an action packed schedule that you do not want to miss out on. The first event of the season is a test and tune play day scheduled to take place on Saturday April 5th while the first race of the year will be held on the 19th. To get the latest information and read the most recent stories regarding SSP log on to www.sunsetspeedwaypark.com.