Finish Doesn't Show Leonard's Performance At Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla (February 14, 2006) - - Cape Coral, Florida native Johnny Leonard finished a disappointing and discouraging 30th in the postponed ARCA 200 last Sunday from Daytona ...
Finish Doesn't Show Leonard's Performance At Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla (February 14, 2006) - - Cape Coral, Florida native Johnny Leonard finished a disappointing and discouraging 30th in the postponed ARCA 200 last Sunday from Daytona International Speedway. Despite the poor finish, it doesn't reflect how smooth and strong Leonard's sponsorless No. 13 Chevrolet Monte Carlo was during the course of the event.
"We had a good car," said Leonard, who finished tenth in ARCA RE/MAX Series driver points last year.
Piloting a Chevrolet Monte Carlo purchased from Richard Childress Racing, Johnny qualified his machine on Friday afternoon posting a time of 50.057 seconds amounting to a speed of 179.795 MPH good enough for only 37th on the speed charts. The former Florida late model driver would start the 2006 ARCA RE/MAX Series opener from the same position thanks to ARCA's provisional system.
"Yeah, we didn't qualify like we wanted to," he continued. "But Daytona, it doesn't matter where you start, it matters where you finish."
The ARCA 200 was originally slated to begin just after 4:00pm on Saturday, but Mother Nature roared into the speedway with other plans washing away the event and the prestige Bud Shootout for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series until Sunday.
41 drivers took the green flag Sunday just after 9:30am with Leonard making a dash to the outside, pacing several race cars heading into turn one. Leonard proved he had a strong car by motoring his way through several of the stoutest cars in the field positioning himself inside the top-twenty by lap two.
Throughout much of the first half of the 80-lap/200 mile event, Leonard maintained a strong position inside the top-20. Drafting with the likes of Eric McClure, Scott Lagasse, Jr, Jeremy Clements and Erin Crocker had Leonard quickly looking to thunder into the top-ten.
A rough pit stop just after halfway positioned Leonard back in the rear forcing him to once again draft his black and blue machine towards the front. On that march, contact from T.J. Bell sent Leonard spinning on lap 66 into the wall in turn one ending his day.
"It's just one of those racing deals," explained Leonard after the race. "I think T.J. was trying to draft a little and it doesn't take much to go around here and off I went. I was really thought I was going to get plowed by other drivers on the track, but they did a good job and avoided me. The car isn't torn up really bad. We can fix it. It has a little bit of body damage on the front and the rear, but it's not totaled like last year. We'll fix this car up and be ready for Talladega in October."
Next up for the Affordable Roofing Race team is the PFG Lester 150 at Nashville Superspeedway on April 15th. Leonard and his team will be busy preparing a brand new Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the second event on the 2006 ARCA RE/MAX Series calendar.