The ASA Late Model Series Presented by GM Performance Parts have completed the 2005 racing season with the Chicago International Trucks/Season Championships 100 at the Rockford (IL) Speedway in Loves Park, Illinois. This event was the conclusion of the 40th annual National Short Track Championships.
back and fourth for the top spot. The third of nine cautions flew on lap 43 when Doug Mahlik spun heading into turn two, Brent Downey had nowhere to go and slammed into the stopped Mahlik and coming to rest on the inside turn three wall and Mahlik’s front end. Both were ok but done for the evening.
On the restart, Carlson was determined to fend off the five-time Rockford Speedway champion, but Bilderback, from near-by Rockton, Illinois had other ideas and finally on lap 61, Bilderback worked his way around Carlson to take over the lead. A lap later, the most serious incident of the afternoon occurred when Leicht and Gille got together in turns three and four resulting in a massive nine car pile-up, forcing Series Officials to throw the red flag.
Stephen Leicht just had to start on Saturday to win the ASA Late Model Series championship. (Bob Milner Photo)
A slew of Rockford Speedway regulars surrounded pole-sitter, Stephen Leicht at the start and when all was said and done, five-time Late Model Track Champion, Ricky Bilderback defended his home turf and won his first ever ASA Late Model Series Feature event to the roar and approval of the outstanding crowd on hand for the conclusion of one of the most prestigious end of the season events in the country.
Leicht would not leave home empty handed however as the 18-year-old, one of the “Young Lions of the ASA Late Model Series”, who started on the pole of the century grind, took the green flag to officially clinch the 2005 ASA Late Model Series Championship!
Leicht and another hometown favorite, Ryan Carlson would lead the 27-car field to chief starter, Tom Powell’s green flag to begin the 100-lap feature. Carlson would lead a parade of Rockford veterans that included Tom Gille and Ricky Bilderback around the 2005 ASALM Series Champion using the patented outside groove and it would be Carlson leading the first lap with Bilderback and Gille giving chase.
Bilderback was glued to Carlson’s back bumper as they fought
Once the incident was cleaned up, racing resumed with Bilderback maintaining the top spot while Carlson kept Bilderback within striking distance. Bilderback was determined however as the multi-time track champion withstood several late race cautions and a last ditch effort from Carlson to score his first career ASA Late Model Series Feature win!
Carlson settled for second as Peter Cozzolino, Chad Wood, Jesse Saunders, 2005 Pat Bourdow Memorial Rookie of the Year Brian Campbell, Jack Smith, Steven Krunich from 25th, Jason Dietsch, and Doug True would round out the top 10.
Ricky Bilderback (#02) took the race victory. (Doug Hornickel Photo)
As for the 2005 ASA Late Model Series Champion, Stephen Leicht, he didn’t have a great day race wise as the Asheville, North Carolina driver was involved in a lap 62 pile-up with Rockford veteran, Tom Gille and would be shown 22nd at the finish.
Back on September 24th, Leicht won his fourth Motive Gear Fast Qualifier award of the season with a lap measured at 13.614 around the rugged ¼ mile high-banked paved oval and also won one of the four 20-lap “Smackdown” Qualifier Heat races. Carlson, Gille, and Bilderback also picked up Qualifier Heat Race wins.
SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP 100
Rockford Speedway, Rockford, IL
1. 4 102 Ricky Bilderback 100
2. 2 32 Ryan Carlson 100
3. 5 11 Peter Cozzolino 100
4. 7 2 Chad Wood 100
5. 9 87 Jesse Saunders 100
6. 12 29 Brian Campbell 100
7. 18 28 Jack Smith 100
8. 25 04 Steven Krunich 100
9. 22 6 Jason Dietsch 100
10. 24 93 Doug True 100
11. 27 7 Landon Cassill 100
12. 23 88 Mike Satkowiak 100
13. 17 92 Travis Dassow 100
14. 20 84 Brett Piontek 99
15. 19 122 J.D. Leonard 99
16. 21 1 Greg Nienhouse 97
17. 26 75 Mike Tetzlaff 92
18. 15 30 Mark Hartline 83
19. 6 90 Keeton Hanks 66
20. 16 81 Jesse Smith 66
21. 10 23 Kris Stump 63
22. 1 89 Stephen Leicht 62
23. 3 35 Tom Gille 62
24. 13 97 Jason Tyler 62
25. 11 40 Nick Hammer 62
26. 8 15 Doug Mahlik 43
27. 18 25 Brent Downey 43
Despite the championship, Leicht (#89) was caught up in this accident with Tom Gille (#35) and Peter Cozzolino (#11). (Bob Milner Photo)
The ASA Late Model Series will have one more event remaining. The All-American 400 at the Music City (TN) Motorplex in Nashville, Tennessee will close out the 2005 season for the ASA Late Model Series/Southern All-Stars Series and the CRA Super Series who will co-sanction the weekend long festivities with the Lexington, Michigan based series on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, November 4th, 5th, and 6th. For more information about the All-American 400 go to: www.musiccitymotorplex.com or www.craracing.net
For more information about the approaching 2006 season with the ASA Late Model Challenge Series, the ASA Late Model Series Northern and Southern Divisions; check out their websites at www.asalatemodelsnorth.com and www.asalatemodelssouth.com You can also call the ASALM Series home offices at 1 (800) 385-2503 or log onto the main website at: www.asalatemodels.com