TORONTO, ON. -- The final event of the Barber Dodge Pro Series (BDPS) provided Daniel Di Leo (Di Leo Auto Sport / Select Auto Collision / Autosports Media) with heartbreak in the closing stages of the event and the third race in the Dodge Trans-Canada challenge. The Molson Indy Montreal and the temporary course of 'Circuit Gilles Villeneuve' saw three drivers end up in a heated battle for 2nd place in the series championship.
Di Leo, who has one win on the season at the tough Lagune Seca road course got his weekend off to a good start as he qualified 3rd in his Select Auto Dodge race car. Knowing what he had to do to end up in P2 for the championship, Di Leo went on the charge early battling with series champion Leonardo Maia. After an intense fight that included Maia, Di Leo and Memo Rojas, Daniel was able to hook up with the Mexican (Rojas) and open up a three second gap over BDPS champion Maia. "We were racing hard and I knew that we had to separate ourselves from the field to make it easier in the closing stages of the race" explained the Markham, Ontario resident.
As Di Leo and Rojas stretched their lead over the field, things were looking good for the championship battle. By finishing less then three positions behind Rojas, Di Leo would ensure a second place position in the ladder series championship. "I was biding my time, just waiting for a safe move," explained the 21-year-old. "I wanted to win this Canadian event." Di Leo showed his experience as he was all over the gearbox of Rojas around the 2.709 mile street circuit showing the nose of his car on several occasions.
Just after the race had run half of its distance, disaster struck for the talented Canadian driver. Barber Dodge mechanics reported that a dime sized puncture in the radiator caused by a rock made the fluid leak onto the racing surface and began to upset the handling of Di Leo's car. The water temperature warning light came on and it was just a matter of time before the engine let go. "There was nothing I could do to save the car. I could tell it was overheating but I was just trying to finish the race." Rojas would go on to take his second victory of the season and gain enough points to squeak by Di Leo for 2nd in the championship. Daniel had secured gathered enough markers to secure the third position in his second season of Barber Dodge Pro competition.
"This weekend and the entire season has been filled with ups and downs," explained a dejected Di Leo. "It's so depressing knowing that I was doing everything right and was in a good position. I felt that I could have easily won four events this year if the cards fell into place"
Though the BDPS season has come to an end, Di Leo will still be seen at several race tracks for the remainder of the year. Competing in kart races and test days to stay in shape and keep up on his skills, Di Leo will look to secure the necessary funds to move to the next step of the Champ Car ladder series.
"I would like to thank all of my supporters throughout the season. Select Auto Collision and Autosports Media have helped me out greatly. My parents have shown interest in my racing career and have helped me live my dream and the BDPS officials and mechanics for doing such a great job in some tough situations."