A podium finish puts Di Leo solidly in second position for the overall championship. TORONTO, ONTARIO -- July 5, 2003: 21-year-old Canadian hot shoe Daniel Di Leo was on the podium today in round ...
A podium finish puts Di Leo solidly in second position for the overall championship.
TORONTO, ONTARIO -- July 5, 2003: 21-year-old Canadian hot shoe Daniel Di Leo was on the podium today in round #6 of the Barber Dodge Pro Series (BDPS) event held this weekend at the famed 2.106 mile temporary road course at the Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio. After taking second position in both of the weekends qualifying sessions, things were looking up for the young star compared to the last event which saw Di Leo finish just of the podium.
Daniel began the 40 minute timed race alongside pole sitter Leonardo Maia and was looking to make an immediate impact from the start. "My car was handling perfect on cold tires as it has all weekend and I new that when David (Martinez) got me, I would have to work hard to get back to the front," explained Di Leo. On the initial start, Daniel found himself fall back to the third position directly behind Martinez and race leader Maia. An early race caution saw the field bunch together for the lap 3 re-start. Di Leo continued behind Martinez until Lap 6 when he made a bold move on the inside of turn one taking P2 away from the Mexican. Martinez timed the pass perfectly and stole the position back on the exit of the corner as Di Leo slid wide. Di Leo then took time to regroup his thoughts, cool his tires and plan another attack.
For the next four laps Di Leo found himself all over the gearbox of Martinez, who was slowing them both as he drove a very defensive line. "I showed my nose here and there" stated Di Leo "I was trying to get by or at least fill his mirrors in the hopes that he would make a mistake." A Lap 11 swooping pass on the entrance of turn five finally saw Di Leo advance into the second position. A series of fast consistent laps saw him close only a few tenths on the race leader before his Dodge race car could not get any quicker. "I gave it everything I had, but Leo just had us covered today. There isn't much else I can do except keep giving it my all. The championship is far from decided with four races yet to go, so I am looking forward to getting to Toronto for my home race. "
Di Leo just tried to be consistent and open the gap between Martinez and himself. And open the gap he did as he managed to romp to over a five second advantage. Di Leo began to run consistent race laps to ensure that he would not be challenged for the second position. "I knew if I couldn't win the race then championship points would be the next best thing."
Markham, Ontario's Daniel Di Leo showed poise this weekend as he did not have the car to win but more importantly he has proven that he is a winner in the series and is ready to take the next step in the motorsports ladder. Di Leo will now begin to shift his focus to next weekend's Molson Indy that takes place in his home town of Toronto, Ontario. Though Daniel and the Di Leo Autosports Racing Team still remain second in the points, today's result has helped them open the gap to third in the points race.