A hectic weekend proved to be rewarding as Di Leo moves to second in the championship standings TORONTO, ONTARIO -- Canadian motorsports standout Daniel Di Leo (Select Auto Collision / Di Leo Autosports Racing Team) advanced to second position...
A hectic weekend proved to be rewarding as Di Leo moves to second in the championship standings
TORONTO, ONTARIO -- Canadian motorsports standout Daniel Di Leo (Select Auto Collision / Di Leo Autosports Racing Team) advanced to second position in the Barber Dodge Pro Series (BDPS) standings after coming home with a fourth place finish this past weekend at Portland International Raceway. The weather played a big factor in the weekends events and made it very challenging even for the most experienced of drivers.
After a wet qualifying session, Di Leo found himself sitting third with both of the series point leaders ahead of him. On track confusion between event officials and Daniel caused the 21 year old to miss five valuable minutes of first round qualifying. "The red flag came out and I passed by the pit entrance," explained Di Leo. "I thought that it would be safer for my fellow competitors and I if I continued around the track and came in the next lap. For that I was penalized five minutes and had to sit in the pits." This ultimately cost Di Leo his chance at the pole as all the other drivers were on course and putting their cars through the paces. Finishing the session in third position would be good for most but a hungry Di Leo would look to Sunday for an improvement.
Round two qualifying on Sunday also proved to be a disaster as the BDPS drivers were forced to qualify again on a wet surface while utilizing their slick Michelin race tires. "There was no point in even being out on the track," stated Di Leo "It was tough to keep it on the pavement." Most drivers cruised around the 9 corner circuit gaining experience for what could have possibly been a wet race.
Daniel began the 32 lap race from row two and immediately went on the attack. "I knew after qualifying that I was going to have to try and take the lead early. I had a good start but unfortunately got into the back of Memo (Rojas)." In the incident Daniel damaged his front wing which presented his car with very little front aero grip. After an eventful trip through the gravel trap Di Leo managed to re-enter the racing surface battling for seventh position. Daniel was forced to drive hard and be aggressive to catch the leaders. He began his assault which saw him make several brave passes and eventually catch the lead pack and the car of third place driver Colin Flemming. "With a couple corners to go I caught up to Colin but just ran out of time and was unable to make a clean and safe pass." Daniel completed the race in fourth position, showing where his focus is by scoring some very valuable championship points. Even with a bent wing and a car with severe understeer, Di Leo was able to turn a fast time that was 0.060 seconds off the fastest race lap.
Di Leo came to Portland on a high note after his first BDPS win last weekend and was looking to extend the winning streak and possibly jump into the championship point lead. Instead, through the tough weekend, he demonstrated why he is destined to move up the open wheel ladder as he showed poise and competitiveness to try and improve for each and every on track session. Di Leo will now take a week off and begin to shift his focus to the round 6, The Cleveland Grand Prix that takes place on the weekend of July 3-5 in Cleveland, OH. Though Daniel was unable to come home with the result that he had wished for he did manage to move into second position in the overall point standings. To view series news and full race results visit the Barber Dodge Pro Series online at www.barberdodge.com.