Johnny Leonard announces 2005 plans

Johnny Leonard Announces Full ARCA Assault In 2005 Covington Kentucky - - There's been no off-season for ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Johnny Leonard and his team. Their 2005 season has already begun. Leonard officially announced Saturday at the ...

Johnny Leonard Announces Full ARCA Assault In 2005

Covington Kentucky - - There's been no off-season for ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Johnny Leonard and his team. Their 2005 season has already begun. Leonard officially announced Saturday at the coveted ARCA RE/MAX Series banquet from Covington, Kentucky that he will run the entire 2005 ARCA schedule with thoughts of bringing home his first championship to the "Sunshine State."

Johnny Leonard has spent the last two seasons competing in ARCA on a limited schedule. Teaming with Bobby Gerhart Racing in 2003, he unveiled his own team (JPL Motorsports) in 2004 with positive results. In seven starts in 2004, Leonard was credited with five top-twenty finishes. Leonard posted his career best finish twice last season a solid 13th at Michigan International Speedway and in the 2004 season finale at Talladega Superspeedway.

His other finishes included a 14th place at Lowes Motor Speedway, a 15th place finish in his restrictor plate debut at Daytona International Speedway, and a respectable 18th place finish in the second Nashville Superspeedway event. Johnny also led the first laps of his ARCA career by taking control of the field for three circuits around the 2.666-mile Superspeedway of Talladega Superspeedway.

With ten ARCA RE/MAX Series races now added to his resume, Leonard, a former FASCAR Challenger competitor is ready to add 23 more races to his credit, which he hopes includes wins, top-fives and the top spot in the ARCA RE/MAX Series championship.

"I'm very excited about the 2005 season," said the driver of the No. 13 Boca Bay Builders/Affordable Roofing Chevrolet Monte Carlo. "We've been working on this season ever since we returned from Talladega. We're not looking to finish second next season, we are the real deal and everyone better watch out."

Aiding Leonard in his bid for the title is crew chief Robert Dick. Known by the team as "Bobby", both driver and crew chief are expecting big results next year. "I don't know what to say about Bobby, other than we have the chemistry. He knows what I'm looking for as a driver. And to me that's one of the most important qualities of a race team. We should be really good."

Johnny Leonard and his crew have a lot to be excited about as Daytona nears. The team has added sponsors, made personnel changes, and upgraded their equipment vowing to prove to be one of the most impressive teams on and off the circuit.

Boca Bay Builders, who sponsored Leonard's No. 13 Pontiac Grand Prix at Talladega in October will step up their involvement this season and hold primary sponsorship roles for the 23-race season.

Founded in 2002, Boca Bay is Southwest Florida's newest premier homebuilder. Their elite group of building executives bring more than 50 years of combined industry knowledge to your home buying experience.

Also returning in the sponsorship department is Affordable Roofing. Driver Johnny Leonard is the president and owner of Affordable Roofing.JProving to be one of the most respected roofing organizations in southern Florida, Affordable Roofing details your every roofing need at a respectable and affordable rate.

Owens Corning, Bradco Roofing Supply, and Best Glove will be plastered on the cars as associate sponsors in 2005.

Weeks before Daytona, Leonard and his team will make a special and unique sponsorship announcement just in time for the season opener.

"Our sponsor program is second to none," exclaimed Leonard. "We have a lot of great supporters this season. Everyone has really raised the bar. I'm grateful to have them all aboard and I'm looking forward to giving them the recognition they deserve."

The team will utilize horsepower from Mark Smith and Tri-Star Motorsports next season. Smith has provided fast and reliable motors to several teams in the ARCA RE/MAX Series as well as the NASCAR ranks. Tri-Star Motorsports powered Frank Kimmel to the 2004 ARCA RE/MAX Series championship. Smith also provided the engines that led to two consecutive back-to-back championships for Xpress Motorsports (IWX Racing No. 61) in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series with drivers Mike Bliss and Travis Kvapil.

Also, once again this season, Leonard will proudly carry the bowtie banner of Chevrolet as their primary manufacturer. However, the team will unload another General Motors product, the Pontiac Grand Prix for the February 12th, 2005 Daytona International Speedway event. It is the only scheduled race for the Pontiac Grand Prix, before the team reunites with Chevrolet for the remainder of the season starting at Nashville Superspeedway in March.

Leonard, a native of Cape Coral, Florida also announced on Saturday he has acquired Chris Knight as the team's Public Relations Director for the entire season. Knight, 21 moves from assistant editor and news director at Catchfence.com to the new position effective immediately.

"Having Chris a part of our team completes the missing piece of the puzzle," continued Leonard. "I have seen him work both on and off the track. He is talented, hard working, and committed. He is making a huge move from Michigan to Florida to be a part of our team. We feel he'll be a great asset and we're very excited to have him aboard."

With the behind-the-scenes details now complete, Leonard will eye pre-season testing at Daytona International Speedway on December 18th and 19th to prove just how powerful his young team will be.

"I am looking forward to the test," he explained. "I think we have our ducks in a row. We have great horsepower this season, a great car, a great crew, the rest is up to me. The Daytona test session will give us all a chance to work together before our biggest race of the season in February. We're going to get as much track time as possible next weekend. I think some will underestimate the determination this team has, but one thing is for sure, we're ready for the 2005 season."

"We'll have no time to relax once we get back," the 35-year old former late model ace insisted. "We're working on getting our cars done. We hope to have some more sponsorship news. And we have a couple exciting projects in the works. I have a feeling we'll be turning heads both on and off the tour this year."

In addition to ARCA, Leonard is also steering towards a career in NASCAR this season. Further details are expected at a later date.

Preseason testing "unofficially" kicks off the 2005 ARCA RE/MAX Series campaign. Several drivers and teams are expected to participate in the open-test session at the 2.5-mile Superspeedway in Daytona Beach, Florida next Saturday, December 18th and Sunday, December 19th.

The Advance Auto Parts 200 is the 1st of 23 events on the 2005 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule. This event is known as the "super bowl" of the ARCA RE/MAX Series. Several rounds of practice and qualifying are scheduled the week of February 12th, 2005. The chase for the championship starts with the drop of the green flag starting tentatively just after 4:00pm with expected live coverage on the Speed Channel.

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Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Bobby Gerhart , Mike Bliss , Johnny Leonard