Oh me, oh Maia, winner at Portland

Oh me, oh Maia, winner at Portland

Leonardo Maia keeps the championship points lead with his win today adding to the bonus point for the pole position. The Barber Dodge Pro Series driver clinched his third win of the 2003 season. "This was a great weekend for me," Maia said on...

Leonardo Maia keeps the championship points lead with his win today adding to the bonus point for the pole position. The Barber Dodge Pro Series driver clinched his third win of the 2003 season.

"This was a great weekend for me," Maia said on his victory. "At the start, I did'nt even want to look back. I just wanted to get out as fast as I could."

Leonardo Maia.
Photo by Jack Durbin.
Under overcast skies with prediction of rain for the third day at Portland International Raceway, the field took the green flag. As expected in the morning race, the temperatures were relatively cool. During the earlier morning warm up, Colin Fleming was the fastest followed by David Martinez and polesitter Maia.

"This is my second time to race here in Portland," Maia continued. "It's a great track. Its really a big rhythm track, and even though I was running alone, its got so much variety in the track that it kept me busy the whole race."

The race started under caution as flagman J.D. Wilbur did not like the front row alignment. As the field came back around the 2.928-mile road course race green flag start, Martinez and Scott Poirier had contact damaging the front wing of Poirier's No. 67.

Turn one on the start is always tricky at any race, as everyone wants to gain a position or two or more... today was no different as several cars made contact, the field continued. One who did suffer damage in the first turn contact shuffle was second on the grid, Memo Rojas.

Rojas had to pit for repairs, losing one lap to the leaders. Chris Baker parked his Dodge for handling problems and Chris Green also went down one lap in the early going. Rojas finished 14th costing him his second place points position as Daniel Di Leo will take over the spot on the leaderboard.

German Quiroga had the best start, jumping from 11th to 4th position in the opening laps. Leader Maia continued to set the pace, putting air between him and second place David Martinez.

Laguna Seca winner, Di Leo was on the move to regain a top spot after going from third to fifth on the start. He had his hands full to get around Quiroga and on lap 19, Di Leo succeeded by outbraking Quiroga in the first turn. Now in the fourth position, Di Leo was looking at gaining ground to Fleming for the final podium spot.

With the clock ticking off and the rain drops started to commence, Di Leo may have to settle for fourth.

Martinez gained time on leader Maia at nearly one second per lap, like Di Leo, the Monterrey winner ran out of time. "Even when I pushed really hard, I could only catch a tenth or so on him, so I just kept trying to keep my laps consistent and get to the finish and get the points," said Martinez.

Maia commented about the final laps, "Towards the middle of the race, I had a pretty good gap over David (Martinez), then he started to close so I bumped it up near the end of the race."

Martinez and Fleming ended up on the second and third podium spots, respectively. Rounding out the top five were Di Leo and Quiroga.

"It was pretty uneventful race once I got through the start," Fleming stated. "I ran alone for most of the race, but Di Leo started to catch me in the end, after I kind of overheated my tires trying to catch David (Martinez), but I kept the gap to get to the finish and on the podium."

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Series Barber Pro
Drivers German Quiroga , Memo Rojas , Leonardo Maia , Chris Baker , Scott Poirier , Colin Fleming , David Martinez , Chris Green