LM: Illiana race notes 2005-07-23

Stephen Leicht shows the way, wins his second feature of the season in the Gibson Chevrolet 100 at Illiana (IN) Motor Speedway. The ASA Late Model Series Presented by GM Performance Parts were at the Illiana (IN) Motor Speedway on Saturday...

Stephen Leicht shows the way, wins his second feature of the season in the Gibson Chevrolet 100 at Illiana (IN) Motor Speedway.

The ASA Late Model Series Presented by GM Performance Parts were at the Illiana (IN) Motor Speedway on Saturday July 23rd for the Gibson Chevrolet 100. The cars and stars of the ASA Late Model Series have proven all season just how competitive and exciting they are and race number six of 15 on the 2005 schedule was no different.

When all was said and done, Current Series Points leader, Stephen Leicht took the lead on lap 30 of the 100-lap grind and from there, held off a late charge from Motive Gear Pole Award winner and Pat Bourdow Memorial Rookie of the Year Points leader, Brian Campbell to score his second feature of the season and third of his career! His first win in 2005 came at the series opener at the Baer Field (IN) Speedway back on May 7th.

With the win, Leicht, at just 18-years-old now moves into a three-way tie with Bobby Stremme and Ryan Tedesco for the all-time lead in wins during the series history!

Pat Bourdow Memorial Rookie of the Year candidates, Jason Dietsch and 15-year-old Chase Austin led the star studded field to chief starter, Tom Powell's green flag to begin the 100-lap feature around the lengthy ½ mile D-shaped semi-banked paved oval. Dietsch and Austin remained side by side for one circuit with Austin leading lap one. Dietsch regrouped his efforts and overpowered Austin on the next lap to regain the top spot while the field remained side by side throughout all 13 rows! Dietsch would keep the lead only for a short time as on lap six, Jack Smith, the winner at Kalamazoo (MI) Speedway back on July 1st drove by Dietsch, the winner at I-70 (MO) Speedway on June 18th to take over the top spot.

Smith would set a torrid early pace until the first of five cautions flew on lap nine when another 15-year-old pilot, Jesse Smith looped his mount in turn three. On the restart, Current Series Points Leader, Stephen Leicht began his charge to the front from his fifth starting spot and soon one of the members of the "Young Lions of the ASA Late Model Series" was in the runner up spot. Leicht slowly but surely began to reel in Smith and on lap 30, Leicht made his move and took over the top spot from Smith.

A harmless spin on lap 35 bunched up the field again. On the restart, Leicht would pull away from the pack and had little trouble up until just before the halfway point when local favorite, Tony D'Ambrose, in his first career start, spun harmlessly in turn four.

Two laps later the most serious incident of the night occurred when Doug True spun down the backstretch and caught the wet grass on the inside of the speedway. True hydroplaned into the infield and slammed into a backstretch light pole! He was ok, but done for the evening.

One more restart followed and Leicht again pulled away from the pack, Motive Gear Pole Award winner and Pat Bourdow Memorial Rookie of the Year points leader, Brian Campbell fought with Jack Smith for the middle portion of the race and finally got by on lap 87 when Smith slowed with mechanical problems. Campbell was a straightaway behind Leicht and could only hope for a caution to have any chance.

Campbell's prayers were answered on lap 95 when Peter Cozzolino, who started 25th and made it all the way to sixth, spun in turn two. With five or less laps to go and a caution comes out, all lapped cars go to the rear of the field. This was seemingly the break that Campbell needed as it set up a five lap dash for cash between him and Leicht.

Leicht was up the challenge however as the Asheville, North Carolina teenager held off one final challenge from Campbell to score his second feature win of the season and maintain his points lead in the ASA Late Model Series Season Long Points Chase!

Campbell settled for second as Chad Wood, Bobby Stremme, Ryan Tedesco, Doug Mahlik, Kris Stump, Austin, Cozzolino, and Dietsch would round out the top 10. Earlier in the evening, Campbell established the track record at Illiana for the ASA Late Model Series in the series' inaugural appearance at the Schererville, Indiana oval. Campbell's lap was a 19.731 which measures out to 91.22 MPH. Also earlier in the evening, Dusty Woodie led all 25 laps to give the Coshocton, Ohio driver his first ever series win in the GM Performance Parts Shootout. Greg Nienhouse was second over Mark Hartline, Bob Johnson, and Nick Mahlik, the top five.

The ASA Late Model Series will stay in the Hoosier State for the next two events. Race number seven of 15 in the 2005 schedule will see the cars and stars of the series make the trip to the famed Indianapolis (IN) Raceway Park on Saturday July 30th. The A.S.I. Limited 100 Presented by Howe Racing Enterprises and Holloway Sportswear is up next. The night will also be Lucas Oil Night at the Races. The traveling USA Modifieds Series will join the ASALM Series.

Then the Baer Field (IN) Speedway in Fort Wayne, Indiana will host the ASA Late Model Series for the second time this season on Friday August 5th for the eighth annual International Gold Cup 100.

For more information about IRP, log onto their website at: www.gotoirp.com and for more information about the ASA Late Model Series. Please call 1-800-385-2503 or log onto the website at: www.asalatemodels.com

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Series Stock car
Drivers Stephen Leicht , Chase Austin , Jesse Smith , Jack Smith