WalTom Education Helps Stephen Leicht in RYR Busch Debut 18-Year-Old Heads to ASA LM Finale Ready to Be Crowned as 2005 Champion CHICAGO, IL -- After dominating the 2005 ASA Late Model season, and scoring a few ASL victories along the way,...
WalTom Education Helps Stephen Leicht in RYR Busch Debut
18-Year-Old Heads to ASA LM Finale Ready to Be Crowned as 2005 Champion
CHICAGO, IL -- After dominating the 2005 ASA Late Model season, and scoring a few ASL victories along the way, this year the short track world learned what Stephen Leicht is capable of. After the 18-year-old made his NASCAR Busch Series debut for Robert Yates Racing at Memphis this past week by qualifying in the top 10 and finishing on the lead lap in the 13th position, the NASCAR community has a pretty good idea about his talents as well.
So it's appropriate that when Leicht was at Memphis, his WalTom Racing Development crew chief Howie Lethow and much of his ASA LM team was right there cheering him on.
"Howie came and watched and most of the WalTom team was there, and we had a lot of fun," said Leicht. "A lot of what I learned from him, I applied to that race. That helped us get the finish we did. When you have somebody like Howie, who knows as much as he does, it makes you a better driver."
Leicht has honed his skills for the past two seasons as WalTom's driver and what he has learned since signing with the team at age 16 has been extremely beneficial. This season's tour of duty in ASA Late Models has been the latest proving ground for Leicht.
"It's helped a lot," said Leicht of his 2005 season. "The fact that you are racing in a series where you go to a different track every weekend teaches you a lot. You go from a flat track to a fast high-banked track to a semi-banked track with progressive banking, and running those places makes it so much easier to go to a track that you've never been to and get comfortable in the car and find a fast line around there. I think that helped at Memphis. I didn't have much practice, but I was able to adapt quickly. The competition level is tough in Busch, but it's tough in ASA too."
By just starting the ASA Late Model season finale this Saturday at Rockford Speedway (IL), Leicht will be crowned their 2005 champion. Going to the racetrack and not worrying about points is a position that he enjoys being in.
"We are going to Rockford knowing that we pretty much have it," said Leicht. "We can go there and just worry about winning the race. We don't have to race for points or keep our car clean. Obviously, we want to, but now we can just focus on nothing but winning that one race. We can go out with a bang and Howie really wants to win this one. I want to win it and the whole team wants to win it."
Most of Leicht's competition won't have the same luxury.
"There are a lot of guys who will have to be conservative because they are still racing for positions. Brian Campbell doesn't have second locked up, Chad Wood is breathing down his neck, and some of the rookies are right there together in that chase, so they need to be careful. There are still a bunch of spots up for grabs. Those guys want to win, but have to think about points and we don't. I think that's going to be to our advantage."
The ASA Late Model finale is part of the 40th annual National Short Track Championships at Rockford and is scheduled for 12:30pm on Saturday, October 30th.
WalTom Racing, with Stephen Leicht, is competing on the ASA Late Model tour in 2005.