Wrong Place, Wrong Time For Leonard In Kentucky Sparta, Kentucky - - Johnny Leonard had good reason to be looking forward to Sunday's Harley Davidson Cincinnati 150. After posting the tenth fastest time in Friday's practice session, Leonard ...
Wrong Place, Wrong Time For Leonard In Kentucky
Sparta, Kentucky - - Johnny Leonard had good reason to be looking forward to Sunday's Harley Davidson Cincinnati 150. After posting the tenth fastest time in Friday's practice session, Leonard rallied during qualifying to post his No. 13 Boca Bay Builders-Affordable Roofing Chevrolet 20th on the starting grid, their best start of the '05 season.
Knowing he had a good racecar, Leonard buckled in his racecar just after 3:00pm EST Sunday looking to charge towards the front and vow to everyone their early season struggles were going to be something of the past.
With crew chief Ted Kennedy on the pit box, spotter Eric Jones high above, and part owner Rick Woodard overlooking the operation, Leonard began to accelerate towards the green flag when the unthinkable happened. The outside pole sitter, Stuart Kirby in the No. 75 Ford Taurus spun his tires causing his machine to make a complete 360-degree spin and sending the rest of the 39 cars scrambling to avoid his automobile.
With guidance from spotter Jones and Leonard's quick thinking it appeared that the team was non-the-worse-the-wear, but then T.J. Bell in the No. 48 Chevrolet who was also trying to avoid the wreck bounced right into Leonard sending both machines hard into the outside wall just shy of crossing the start-finish line.
Frustration quickly could be seen all over the entire Boca Bay Racing team as a good car, capable of winning the race was just practically destroyed. However, with the guidance of crew chief Ted Kennedy, the team opted to bring the No. 13 down on pit road and make the necessary changes to fix the machine as best as possible.
For the remainder of the day, Leonard dealt with a very ill-handling machine. Instead of aiming towards the team's first top-ten finish of the year, the day became about survival.
The team did survive and avoided more potential disaster as a loose wheel became evident on the Chevrolet Monte Carlo with 25 markers remaining.
Leonard came to pit road and the team changed tires and set the driver on his way. Leonard finished 24th on Sunday from Kentucky Speedway.
"It's just so disappointing," said the driver Johnny Leonard. "I don't know what happened on the start of the race, but it cost us really big. We had a good racecar. I hate it, I hate for not only the team but our sponsors as well. We've got a huge monkey on our back."
The Cape Coral, Florida native continued, "We've been in four races this year and even though we've finished three of them, our luck has been crappy. We're going to bounce back, we have all the right pieces to do it, I promise everyone that."
On a brighter note, the Boca Bay Racing team did pick up the Gladiator of the Race award from the ARCA RE/MAX Series for not giving up despite the circumstances.
Leonard and his team will once again try to get back on track as the series heads to the "home track" of the ARCA RE/MAX Series, Toledo Speedway this Sunday. The race will also be huge for Leonard as several members of his family and members of his crew's family will be in attendance.