Leighton Reese and the Banner Engineering Corvette C-6 finish second after leading the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT at Portland Portland, Oregon: (July 31, 2005) Leighton Reese, of Minnetonka Minnesota, survived a race long battle with Wolf ...
Leighton Reese and the Banner Engineering Corvette C-6 finish second after leading the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT at Portland
Portland, Oregon: (July 31, 2005) Leighton Reese, of Minnetonka Minnesota, survived a race long battle with Wolf Henzler and Dino Crescentini to finish second as it was Crescentini who would prevail in Round 8 of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Series here at Portland International Raceway in Portland Oregon.
Reese, who hosted members of the 162nd Infantry of the Oregon National Guard which had recently returned from Iraq, started the Banner Engineering Chevy Corvette C6 on the pole position but as Leighton said after the race, "It was disappointing, the start was very important and I got too much wheel spin and I dropped to fourth place before the first turn."
But Reese remained poised and worked himself back up to be challenging German Wolf Henzler for the lead within a few laps. Lap after lap, 14 laps to be precise, Leighton tried to get past Henzler's Porsche and finally snuck past Wolf under heavy breaking into turn one on lap 24 because Henzler slipped ever so slightly coming out of the final turn on lap 23.
Unfortunately Reese wouldn't lead for long as he missed a down shift coming back to turn one and skidded to a stop letting both Henzler and Crescentini back past.
"I knew from the driver's meeting that there would be a penalty if I didn't stop in there but I didn't wait around for the guy with the stop and go sign so I just skidded to a stop and launched from there," Reese said of his slide into the Festival Turns.
"I just drove as hard as I could from there and I caught Wolf again but it took forever to get by him," Leighton said with a shrug. "We raced very clean. He didn't block me or anything. I just didn't want to get into a dangerous position going very fast down through ten."
Leighton did get past on lap 29 and, with just 4 more laps remaining, started closing in on the leader Crescentini who had opened up an almost 4 second gap while Reese was busy getting past Henzler.
Unfortunately Leighton ran out of laps finishing 1.8 seconds behind Crescentini's Corvette.
"This is a bittersweet deal for us," Leighton Reese concluded of his weekend. "We had the pole we had probably the best car and we made one little mistake in the chicane there. I missed one little shift and that was that. That shows just how close the racing in this series is!"
Bittersweet indeed as the Leighton and the whole Banner Racing Team felt that the win was well within their grasp but to a man they couldn't help but feel good and proud that they had performed extremely well at Portland in 2005 putting in a strong podium finish!
"I knew that probably that the three of us would be on the podium I just got the order wrong," joked Reese during the post race press conference.
The Round 8 GT race at Portland for the SPEED World Challenge Series will be shown on the SPEED TV network on Sunday August 7th at 3 PM Eastern Time.
The next race for Leighton Reese and his Banner Engineering Chevrolet Corvette C6 and the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Series will be on the street course in Denver Colorado on Sunday August 14th 2005.