A New Leytham Ready to Take Over…By Chuck Corderadmin
A New Leytham Ready to Take Over the Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks Series in 2021
By Chuck Corder
Even in Cameron Leytham’s first trip to Victory Lane, his father made sure he was not satisfied.
Every dad has different ways they motivate their children. And, if these were just simple motivational tactics, maybe the Mobile, Ala., driver could’ve had more time to enjoy his breakthrough win in the Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks 20-lap season opener last month at Five Flags Speedway.
But when B.J. Leytham talks, people listen. Especially, when you are his 19-year-old son. A three-time Pure Stocks Snowball Derby champion (2013-2014, 2016) and the 2019 Sportsmen Derby champion, the 40-year-old Leytham has been one of the more decorated local drivers in recent years at Five Flags.
After a celebratory embrace, B.J. Leytham had some words of wisdom for Cameron Leytham.
“I’m proud of you, but we gotta talk about some stuff,” B.J. told Cameron.
Cameron Leytham listened intently, even if a wild celebration had to be put on hold.
“I didn’t even make it off the front straightaway before he was giving me constructive criticism,” Cameron joked of B.J. “He was super happy for me, but during a race, everybody makes mistakes. He still makes mistakes. If you can try to reduce those mistakes, you’ll be fastest, no doubt. He’s teaching me to look at racing more than just having fun.”
Racing is more than just fun in the Leytham family. Cameron is a fourth-generation racer and has an older and little brother, who either also compete or will compete. His little brother, Levin, races karts at Sunny South Raceway in Grand Bay, Ala. Older brother, Christian, is building a car currently. And Kim Leytham, their mother, is at every race.
All three boys have a long way to go to escape the wide shadow their father cast during the last decade at Five Flags. After a year of growing pains in 2012, B.J. Leytham experienced a meteoric rise in the Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks division driving Darryl Jackson’s orange-and-white No. 8.
He captured back-to-back Pure Stocks Derby crowns and then enjoyed an historic season in 2016. B.J. Leytham won 10 races, including another Derby, and drove away with the track championship.
But, like any top-notch racer protective of their secrets, dear ol’ dad isn’t always so forthcoming with tips and tricks to help Cameron Leytham navigate his way around the famed half-mile asphalt oval.
“He says to ask him any questions, so I’m always asking questions,” the younger Leytham said of the older one. “He doesn’t always offer information. But, if he feels like you’re trying, then you deserve to know. And, honestly, he’d be like that with anybody. But I think other drivers can be intimidated by him because of his presence and he’s so quiet.”
Cameron Leytham and, most likely, his father will be in action April 2 at Pensacola’s high banks when the Faith Chapel Outlaws, Proxy Equipment Pro Trucks, and The Dock on Pensacola Beach Sportsmen open their respective seasons alongside the Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks. B.J. Leytham anticipates driving a Sportsmen car for Heath Hudson.
Cameron Leytham led all 20 laps on Feb. 27. He started on the outside of Row 1, but immediately passed pole sitter and fellow Alabama driver Austin McDuffie after the pair led the nine-car field out of Turn No. 2.
“I figured, (McDuffie would) beat us all the way through or at least halfway through race, honestly,” Leytham said. “Usually, we’re fast at the end of races. But, when I got him on the outside, I was stoked.”
This, despite, his No. 8 experiencing an issue with the distributor wire during practice and qualifying.
“It’s like having a dead battery on a car,” Leytham explained. “We were down on power.”
His team taped up the problem and once the race started, Leytham quickly found clean air. It was a whole new world for a driver whose best finish at Five Flags had been fourth.
Leytham ignored the butterflies doing acrobatics in his stomach and did what felt natural.
“I imagined it was like practice,” he said. “My team told me to stay calm. And I’m always super calm at practice. I’m always out there having fun. I wanted to hit my marks, run good times, and stay as consistent as possible.”
Leytham did just that, holding off Pensacola’s Caleb Burkett and McDuffie to capture his first checkered flag in Pensacola.
Leytham, who works in the distributing warehouse at Coca-Cola’s bottling company in Mobile, is sponsored by Dewey Miller Competition Head Service, Coastal Towing, McInvale Drywall, Johnny’s RV, STL Distributors, Loper Tire, and Adept Distributing.
“Those last three or four laps, I ran them as hard as I could to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes,” Leytham said. “Heck, I ran an extra lap just so I didn’t make a mistake. I did not wanna lose that race.”
With a win now under his belt, Leytham isn’t too worried about going from one of the many hunters to now the hunted at the famed half-mile asphalt oval. His quest to follow in his father’s footsteps and win a track championship is strengthened by a insatiable quest for knowledge.
“I’m always gonna look to get faster no matter if we’re the fastest or slowest out there,” Leytham said. “I’m always asking questions, trying to perfect any mistake I’ve made out there to make sure we have as near a perfect racecar as possible.”
It certainly sounds like that fatherly advice to never be satisfied has sunk in already.