Toledo Next For Leonard; Boca Bay Racing Team Toledo, Ohio - - After finishing a discouraging 24th at Kentucky Speedway last Saturday, Johnny Leonard and his Boca Bay Racing team lean into Toledo Speedway this weekend looking for some luck.
Toledo Next For Leonard; Boca Bay Racing Team
Toledo, Ohio - - After finishing a discouraging 24th at Kentucky Speedway last Saturday, Johnny Leonard and his Boca Bay Racing team lean into Toledo Speedway this weekend looking for some luck. Leonard, who announced last week that he'll run for the ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie-of-the-Year award will visit the .5 mile oval for the first time in his career. Despite the unknown the team is pumped and ready for a good weekend of short track racing.
"I'm hoping for a good weekend," said Leonard, driver of the No. 13 Boca Bay Builders-Affordable Roofing Chevrolet Monte Carlo. "We're bringing the same car that we raced with at Salem. It's a good car, so I think we'll be all right."
ARCA has scheduled an optional practice session on Saturday from 3:00pm to 5:00pm and Leonard plans to use the session to his advantage. "I've never been to Toledo, so any track time I can get this weekend is crucial. I know that Ted (Kennedy) is going to give me a comfortable setup so I just want to learn the track and be able to start as close to the front as possible on Sunday."
Guiding the Boca Bay Racing (BBR) team this weekend will be Ted Kennedy. Kennedy, a former crew chief in the NASCAR Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series has leaped aboard the team looking to guide them into victory circle this season. "Ted has really been a big asset to this organization," continued Leonard. "He is teaching me things. The communication is getting better and that's important."
NASCAR driver Eric Jones will return as the team's spotter for this weekend. Jones, who has prior experience in the ARCA RE/MAX Series driving for championship owner Larry Clement, was beneficial during the team's event at Kentucky last weekend. "Eric keeps me calm," explained Johnny. "It's important to have a spotter who is not only calm, but also helps you in other ways on the track and that's what he is doing."
Boca Bay Builders will hold primary sponsorship on Leonard's Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the fifth of 23 events this season. Boca Bay Builders 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 fifth event of the season. pme engines (Pro-Motor Engineering) is supplying the horsepower under the hood at Toledo.
In addition, Russo's Tinting and Comfort Inn - Alexis Road will serve as associate sponsors this weekend.
"We have a lot of great sponsors affiliated with this team this weekend and 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. We started to turn the corner at Salem, and then had some back luck last weekend. We're going to keep digging; our sponsors are the ones that keep us on the track."
For Sunday'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," added Johnny.
With another record entry list expected this weekend, 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 Salem, 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. Qualifying is again on race day.. I'm looking forward to qualifying early Sunday morning. It's a little unique with these "one day" shows, but I think we'll benefit from it. Our qualifying efforts have been mid-packed this season thus far. We're looking to advance those stats this weekend.
"There's no happy hour this weekend, so we have to get the car dialed in during practice. No matter where we start, we'll try and use pit strategy to our advantage as best as we can and plan to keep the car out of the "eye of the storm." It would be great 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 fifth race of the season, Leonard is continuing to eye the bigger picture in the back of his mind." We're running for a top-five position in the championship. We lost two positions last weekend. I know it's only going to get tougher from here. However, 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 Hantz Group 200 is the fifth of 23 events on the 2005 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule. An optional practice begins Saturday from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. Another practice session is scheduled for Sunday May 22nd in the morning with qualifying on tap at 11:45am with the race set to take the green flag that afternoon. The Speed Channel will air the event live from Johnny's on-board camera beginning at 2:00pm EST.