Veteran Mike Loescher Gets A New Project at New Smyrna
by Skip Wall

Mike Loescher, veteran teacher, racer and setup man, has a new project this weekend at New Smyrna. He gets to help develop veteran Mike Laughlin Jr and also to consult with rookie Brandon Collins.

Loescher, heads up FINISH LINE Racing School and has plenty of experience developing aspiring racers at New Smyrna Speedway, a place where he himself once raced open wheel Modifieds.

And if all is said and done, as expected, Loescher may find himself patting himself on the back.

Loescher spent the last race at Lakeland whipping rookie Brandon Collins into shape in the Hooters ProCup Series. Collins has limited experience in the heavier ProCup cars.

In the meantime, Laughlin got a race off from Loescher and spent the night
bagging a 4th place finish at Lakeland, largely because Loescher has mentored Laughlin several outings last seasons. But once ever so often, Loescher could be heard on the Laughlin frequency, encouraging the South Carolina resident on as he marched to the front of the pack.

"Its great to have Loescher around. He encourages you whether your having a fine run or an off night" said Laughlin. "I went to his racing school and he has really helped me getting through the turns."

Loescher also helped Collins out at Lakeland when Collins got caught up in a crash when another car spun in front of him.

"Brandon is getting a better feel for the car. He was listening to everything we told him on the radio and was getting close to the top ten when he got caught up in a spinning car" said Loescher.

It doesn't make any difference who goes to the racing school or just wants Loescher to help them out. Loescher has a way of helping people out.

The difference between Collins and Laughlin is Collins is a rookie, Laughlin needs to finesse his driving skills and his aggressiveness.

Its still early to tell about Collins, however Collins has already shown improvement as he was running close to the top ten at Lakeland. Laughlin ran extremely well in the Championship series with the aid of Loescher.

Loescher learned his driving skills in the Featherlite Modified Series, the fastest horsepowered cars in NASCAR. He also has a knack on car set ups. He is often found in the pits help fine tuning a race car. He can also be found in the early morning before practice, walking his students around the speedway, showing them the weak and positive points of a speedway.

Loescher has a knowledge of what it takes at the track and a positive attitude to go along with it. He accepts his students the way they are. He lets them speak their peace, then he corrects them if sees them wrong. He will even go so far as to let them learn there own mistake out on a racetrack during practice.

Collins is part of a large rookie class. Some of his fellow rookies are considerably more competitive right now. With the help of Loescher and the help of his family auto dealership in Mount Airy NC, he can be a threat in a matter of time.

Loescher looks at New Smyrna as being a very finicky race track. He will tell you that you have to learn how to get around this track. It will change from day to night. When you look at Collins or Laughlin, you will hear them say " Its hard to turn down knowledge."

In the meantime one can find Loescher perched atop a rig somewhere in the infield calling out all his knowledge and love of racing.

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