Di Leo Claims Second in Star Mazda Series Championship
"Rookie-of-the Year comes from 10th on the grid to finish 5th"
TORONTO, ON. - Markham, Ontario resident Daniel Di Leo (Di Leo Auto Sport / Select Auto Collision / WTF Solutions / Autosports Media) competed at this weekend's Star Mazda event at the legendary Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the final round of the Star Mazda Series presented by Goodyear. Having claimed the Rookie championship one race earlier, Di Leo and his Star Race Cars team were looking for the overall series crown but came up short in their quest for the title.
Di Leo who won at Laguna in the Barber Dodge Pro Series in 2003, felt extremely confident heading into the final round. The young Canadian who has worked extremely hard all year long was ready to put it all on the line. After qualifying a disappointing tenth for Saturday's main event Di Leo knew that to take the 2004 Championship he would need a little bit of luck.
When the green flag flew for the start of the Saturday afternoon event, Di Leo made quick work and began picking off competitors and moving towards the front of the pack. Though his main championship contenders were running 2nd and 4th, the aggressive Canadian continued his march forward through the pack as he looked to gain some much needed luck. "I knew that the title was going to be tough," stated Di Leo. "The only way that I could have claimed the championship was for my teammate, Michael McDowell, to have a problem."
Di Leo progressively moved forward from his tenth place starting position and slotted into the fifth spot to finish the event. "Unfortunately, we came up a bit short for the championship" expressed Di Leo. "We finished the year with 8 podiums, 2 poles, a win, a few fastest lap of the race, the Rookie of the Year award and Runner up in the Championship, so I guess all in all it has been a pretty good year."
Di Leo claimed the opening round race victory in Sebring, FL on his way to the Rookie-of-the-Year honors and second in the series championship. The 22-year-old multi-time karting champion had a tremendous season as he finished outside the top five only once in the Star Mazda ten race championship. With the consistency that Di Leo has shown, he has proven that he is ready to move up the motorsports ladder.