Daniel Di Leo is victorious at Laguna Seca TORONTO, ONTARIO -- June 15, 2003: Canadian hot shoe Daniel Di Leo won his first career Barber Dodge Pro Series (BDPS) event this weekend at the famed 11 turn 2.238 mile Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca.
Daniel Di Leo is victorious at Laguna Seca
TORONTO, ONTARIO -- June 15, 2003: Canadian hot shoe Daniel Di Leo won his first career Barber Dodge Pro Series (BDPS) event this weekend at the famed 11 turn 2.238 mile Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. After taking the provisional pole and the bonus point in Friday afternoons qualifying session, Di Leo was determined to close the points gap between himself and the championship leader and come home with a win.
Daniel began the 27 lap race alongside pole sitter Memo Rojas and immediately went on the attack. "My car was handling perfectly on cold tires and I new I had to get by Memo early to try and runaway," stated Di Leo. On the initial start, Daniel found himself in second position running directly behind pole sitter and race leader Rojas on the exit of the long left hand turn one. He began to challenge Memo immediately until a first lap caution slowed the field down behind the pace car. Di Leo took time to regroup his thoughts, cool his tires and plan another assault on the race leader. Daniel timed his re-start perfectly to get on the inside of Rojas but slid wide on the exit of corner one. Memo was able to squeeze along side Di Leo to challenge for the top spot as they battled side by side into turn two. "I got a good jump off turn 11 for the restart and was able to run along the inside of Memo entering into turn one. We battled side by side for a few corners and banged wheels until I was finally able to take the lead," explained the delighted Di Leo as he earned his first career BDPS victory.
"I just tried to be consistent and open the gap between Memo and myself." And open the gap he did as he showed why he is one of the top drivers in the series, stretching his lead to over 2.5 seconds. With three laps remaining Daniel and second place finisher Rojas began to encounter lapped traffic and came upon two slower cars that were battling for position. "It wasn't easy to get by," stated Di Leo as he followed his fellow competitors for a couple of corners. "I slowed down going into the corner to ensure I could get a good run and put the power to the ground to get by on the straightaway." That is exactly what Di Leo did as he managed to open a slight gap between Memo and himself. Daniel went along to win the race by 1.532 seconds over Memo Rojas with David Martinez coming home third.
Markham, Ontario's Daniel Di Leo struggled in the last two rounds of the series in Mexico and Milwaukee and was very excited to get his first career win today. He will now begin to shift his focus to next weekend's race that takes place in Portland, OR where he managed to have his best result in the 2002 season. Though Daniel and the Di Leo Autosports Racing Team still remain third in the points, today's win has helped Daniel close the gap in the points race. The top four finishers in today's race remain the top four drivers in the series standings which will make round #5 in Portland, OR next weekend a very intense affair for these talented competitors. An error by any of these drivers may cost them some very valuable points and ultimately the possibility to walk away with the Barber Dodge Pro Series championship.