Leonard; Florida Motorsports Group Armed For Nashville Lebanon, Tennessee - - As the ARCA RE/MAX Series heads to the "Music City", Florida Motorsports Group with driver Johnny Leonard feel they have a strong chance of collecting their first...
Leonard; Florida Motorsports Group Armed For Nashville
Lebanon, Tennessee - - As the ARCA RE/MAX Series heads to the "Music City", Florida Motorsports Group with driver Johnny Leonard feel they have a strong chance of collecting their first career victory on Saturday from Nashville Superspeedway.
Last month, Johnny Leonard got off to a rocky start to his '05 season. After qualifying 23rd at Daytona International Speedway, the former late model driver was racing towards the front when several machines ahead collided. At speeds nearing 200MPH, Leonard had no where to go and was pulled into the accident sending the team home with a disappointing 34th place finish.
Leonard has participated in two prior ARCA RE/MAX Series events from the 1.333-mile speedway with a best finish of 18th occurring last summer in the Waste Management 200.
Now, the Cape Coral Florida native feels his chances are more imaginable than ever after solid testing results last Tuesday have the team hoping to be at the top of the charts all weekend.
"Nashville is one of my favorite tracks," said Johnny Leonard, driver of the No. 13 Boca Bay Builders Chevrolet Monte Carlo. "There will be plenty of competition this weekend, but we are ready for it. We have made a lot of positive changes to our car since the test and feel that we could be a sleeper on Saturday afternoon."
For the first time in his ARCA career, Leonard will bring two Chevrolet Monte Carlos for race weekend. The primary car holds a brand new body recently purchased from HAAS/CNC Racing with Ward Burton behind the wheel last season, while the backup machine is from the SCORE Motorsports stable purchased from Hermie Sadler. Leonard has some success in his backup automobile as he collected a career-best ARCA finish of 12th last June at Michigan International Speedway.
"We're running for a championship this year and we have to be prepared for the unexpected. I'm confident in both cars we are bringing to the track. If something should happen to our primary, I know that our-back has the same capabilities of guiding us towards victory lane," continued Leonard."
Boca Bay Builders will hold primary sponsorship on Leonard's No. 13 Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the second of 23 events this season. Founded in 2002, Boca Bay is Southwest Florida's newest premier homebuilder. Their elite group of building executives bring more than 50 years of combined industry knowledge to your home buying experience.
Affordable Roofing joins the team as a major associate sponsor this weekend. Proving to be one of the most respected roofing organizations in southern Florida, Affordable Roofing details your every roofing need at a respectable and affordable rate.
Tex Racing Enterprises will serve as the team's driveline supplier for the event, while AMSOIL joins the team as the official lubricant for the first event of the season. pme engines (Pro-Motor Engineering) is supplying the horsepower under the hood at Nashville.
In addition, Russo's Tinting and Holiday Inn Express & Suites -- Spence Lane will serve as associate sponsors this weekend.
"We have a lot of great sponsors affiliated with this team this season," explained Leonard. "Our sponsors mean a lot to this team and if we can go out there and run well, we know we've done our job."
For Saturday's event, Leonard will carry an on-board camera offering the fans at home reality from the cockpit of the No. 13. "It's really cool to have in-car cameras for all 14 live events this season. It's a huge bonus to our sponsors, and we looking forward to giving them a little more publicity, and offering the fans at home a different view."
With a huge entry list expected once again, Leonard knows he has to be patient in the first practice sessions and save his car for when it counts the most, qualifying.
"I'm going to play it safe, but we have to see how the car is feeling. The team knows what worked well at the test, so we've set our standards a little bit, but we have to keep focused, avoid any trouble that could occur during practice."
"When qualifying rolls around, I would love to start inside the top-ten. We have to get a good lap, I have to hit all my marks, and not make a mistake. We're running for a championship this season, we can't afford to make any errors that could hurt us in the end."
"Once we qualify, we don't have a happy hour, so our car will be set up for race mode. I just want to stay with the lead pack, lead some laps and be battling for the win at the end of the day."
Despite it being the second race of the season, Leonard is eyeing the bigger picture. "We're running for the championship. I know it's going to be tough. We're behind from the Daytona incident, but we have a good team, lots of experience, good equipment, and good horsepower, the rest is up to the driver, and I'm ready."
The PFG Lester 150 is the second of 23 events on the 2005 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule. Practice begins Friday, March 25th with an extensive morning session planned. Qualifying is also on tap for Friday afternoon with the race set to take the green flag Saturday March 26th, 2005. The Speed Channel will air the event live from Johnny's on-board camera beginning at 12:30pm EST.