4 car diary - Leitzinger comes to grief

24-houritis Sets In By Bill King What had been a central part of the story of this 43rd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona became a subplot within a matter of laps after Butch Leitzinger took over The Boss Snowplow No. 4 Howard-Boss ...

24-houritis Sets In
By Bill King

What had been a central part of the story of this 43rd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona became a subplot within a matter of laps after Butch Leitzinger took over The Boss Snowplow No. 4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford.

It all started with Leitzinger reporting a flat tire only to reaccess the situation as pick-up. The tires cleaned themselves after two laps in the 1:55 range, but on Lap 407, Butch reported a vibration.

On Lap 410, crew chief Catherine Crawford instructed her driver to switch to Map 1, as they'd blown a sensor. At this point, the tires had slung enough pick-up from the right front to damage the nosepiece louvers behind the wheel well. An unscheduled 1:10 stop to change the nose section followed with the No. 4 still only a minute out of the lead and five laps left to a full-service stop.

Then on Lap 418, Leitzinger reported smoke in the cockpit and was called in. Off came the engine cover and at 2:24 a.m. EST Leitzinger shut down the No. 4, which was rolled back to the garage.

Leitzinger slipped out of the cockpit as a half dozen mechanics swarmed over the rear of the car. "It sounded like a broken header and we started gradually losing power after that and started to get some smoke in the cockpit. That may be it or the heat from the header might have broken something else."

Interestingly, Leitzinger said the pick-up earlier fooled him into thinking he had a puncture, as he hadn't driven out of the racing groove into the marbles.

Meanwhile, the team decided this was a good opportunity to change the brake pads, an operation that teams normally perform at two-thirds distance. The brake job took four minutes.

A cut drive shaft tube was discovered at 2:36 a.m. and more tools had to be brought from the pits to change the unit.

Leitzinger reinstalls his helmet and is buckled up again at 2:39 a.m.

At 2:54 a.m., Leitzinger refires the engine and returns to the track in eighth place in the Daytona Prototype category after losing 18 laps and 34 minutes.

Hey guys, everybody did a great job. Hell of an effort.

Editor's note:
Please view all the diary entries by Bill King on the No. 4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford at http://www.motorsport.com/news/series.asp?S=GRANDAM

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About this article
Series Grand-Am , NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill King , Catherine Crawford