Daytona 24: Howard-Boss No. 4 race report

Leitzinger, EFR, Johnson Second in Rolex 24 at Daytona BOSS Snowplow Team Overcomes Setback for Strong Finish Daytona Beach, FL (February 6, 2005) . The ...

Leitzinger, EFR, Johnson Second in Rolex 24 at Daytona
BOSS Snowplow Team Overcomes Setback for Strong Finish

Daytona Beach, FL (February 6, 2005) . The #4 BOSS Snowplow Team overcome a mid-race setback to charge to a second-place finish in the 43rd annual Rolex 24 At Daytona at the Daytona International Speedway. The premiere event on the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series schedule opened the 2005 season with one of the most talent laden, exciting races in the history of the tour.

With sports car veterans Butch Leitzinger and Elliott Forbes-Robinson teaming with NASCAR star Jimmie Johnson, the #4 BOSS Snowplow Team figured to be a contender in one of the most famous motorsports endurance races in the world. And, they did not disappoint their fans.

While running in the top five for most of the first half of the race, the Boss Snowplow Team stuck to their strategy and stayed in contention while not abusing their Pontiac Crawford. Then, during a routine pit stop on lap 417, a problem was discovered that sent the Howard-Boss Team to the garage for repairs. After replacing the headers, the team reentered the event on lap 435 after spending 34 minutes off the track. But, this team was led by two veterans and a NASCAR superstar making only his second Rolex 24 start. They knew that the Rolex 24 At Daytona was an endurance race, not a sprint. Their perserverance paid off as their competitors experienced problems during the final hours. The result was a second-place finish.

"When I was sitting there watching the crew put the new headers on the car, I figured maybe we'll get a top ten (finish) out of it," Leitzinger stated. "That would have to be it. You forget what Daytona is and you forget what a back breaker it is. Last year, it was about two hours to go when everybody had trouble including us. This year, it was about the same. Two hours to go and everybody starting falling off the leader board. We just kept going and moving up. Jimmie (Johnson) and Elliott (Forbes-Robinson) kept going lap after lap pounding. That's what it takes. The thing about this race is it requires you to not really set goals because if you set 'we have to win', when it becomes maybe obvious you won't win you have to come up with something else. It's just a day in your life you might as well drive the crap out of the car and see where you end up."

"I don't think there's ever a good time to have a problem," EFR commented. "I've been here when we've had problems in the last half hour. Butch and I have been together before when we had cars break something. Sometimes they finish, sometimes they don't or we just limped around at the end. It's really a tough race to finish with a good running car. This year, having it early, it's very hard to make up the time. It's kind of fun in a way. You just have to run hard the whole time. Like these guys (Leitzinger and Johnson), I really didn't think we had a shot at it because there's a lot of good cars and a lot of good teams. I'm surprised we ended up back on the box (podium)."

"Finishing the race in my second attempt, yes I'm a racer and I wish we would've won, but for myself to finish second in this race is a huge, huge accomplishment," Johnson added. "I'm very happy with that. I always want to win races, but to be this close and be on the podium and work with such great teammates, I'm thankful for that."

"I had a blast," Johnson concluded. "It's a great way to start the season and it's so much fun to come down here and meet all the drivers and different champions. To spend time with EFR and Butch is great. The Crawfords make racing so much fun. It's a family run team and they work very hard. All the guys on the crew are a lot of fun to be around. It's just a great time. I'll definitely be back."

The trio led the 2005 Rolex 24 At Daytona six different times for a total of fifty laps. Each driver led twice, EFR for nineteen laps, Leitzinger eighteen, and Johnson thirteen.

EFR and Leitzinger now look to the next event on the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car schedule, the Grand Prix of Miami on March 5th at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. And, they carry the momentum of five consecutive top four finishes to the Homestead track, four to end the 2004 season and their second-place on Sunday. Included in this streak was the first win for the BOSS Snowplow Team at Barber Motorsports last October. And, based on their performance in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, their second win could be just a month away.

-hbm-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Jimmie Johnson , Elliott Forbes-Robinson