Daytona II: Race report

Leitzinger & Forbes-Robinson Top Stout Field to Win Brumos Porsche 250 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 30, 2005) -- In a wild one under the lights at Daytona International Speedway, Butch Leitzinger drove his No. 4 The Boss Snowplow Pontiac Crawford...

Leitzinger & Forbes-Robinson Top Stout Field to Win Brumos Porsche 250

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 30, 2005) -- In a wild one under the lights at Daytona International Speedway, Butch Leitzinger drove his No. 4 The Boss Snowplow Pontiac Crawford past the No. 19 Make A Wish/Air Force Reserve/Commercial Defeasance BMW Riley of Michael McDowell on the famed Daytona Superstretch with 23 laps remaining and led the rest of the way en victory in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Brumos Porsche 250.

After becoming the 10th different leader on Lap 47 of 70, Leitzinger spent the closing laps running a consistent pace and staying out of trouble, finishing 5.539 seconds ahead of Max Angelelli in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley. With the victory, Leitzinger and co-driver Elliott Forbes-Robinson became the fifth different set of co-drivers to win in Rolex Series competition, one shy of tying the record for most different winners in a season with half of the 2005 schedule still to come.

The victory was the first for Leitzinger and Forbes-Robinson since they won the penultimate round of the 2004 Rolex Series season at Barber Motorsports Park last October. It was also the duo's fourth top-two finish of the season and was the 62-year-old Forbes-Robinson's second-career Rolex Series triumph.

"It was a great day," Forbes-Robinson said. "I was really happy to turn it over to Butch, who's a lot faster than me anyway, and was able to pull this off."

It was Leitzinger's 11th career Rolex Series overall victory, which moved him to within two wins of all-time Rolex Series win leader James Weaver. Leitzinger and Forbes-Robinson also managed to deliver a hard-earned victory at Daytona International Speedway for the Howard-Boss Motorsports team, which had placed at least one car on the podium in each of the last three races at the "World Center of Racing," but hadn't won prior to this evening's Brumos Porsche 250 victory.

"I think Elliott's modesty is a little bit overbearing," said Leitzinger. "He did a fantastic job. He was in the top three the entire beginning of the race, so he was just streaking away. The car was just so perfectly set up. The crew just did a great job. A race like this shows what a great team this is."

Despite turning the fastest lap in the race eight laps from the checkered flag, Angelelli was unable to get within 4.5 seconds of Leitzinger in the closing laps. Nevertheless, the second-place run capped a successful day for Angelelli and co-driver Wayne Taylor, who started from the pole position and led twice for eight laps in a spirited battle for the lead with Jorg Bergmeister during both drivers' stints.

Most importantly, their result coupled with a sixth-place finish for No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley co-drivers Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz moved Angelelli and Taylor back into sole possession of first place in the Daytona Prototype driver standings. They lead Pruett and Diaz by seven points, 212-205, with half of the season now in the books. Leitzinger and Forbes-Robinson remained tied for fifth in the standings with 190 points, although they moved closer to the top of the points heap with their victory.

"It was really a great race," Taylor said. "I had probably the best fun I've had since a long time ago. We wanted to win the race badly, but leaving the race with a seven-point lead, that's better than winning, so we're really happy. We also really wanted to win this because this is (outgoing President and CEO of SunTrust Banks, Florida) George Koehn's retirement day, but you know he's going to be with us forever. He'll be part of the championship."

The runner-up result was the fourth top-two showing of the season for the SunTrust duo and was their best performance since they also finished second in Round 3 at California Speedway.

"I am happy for the championship, happy for the points, but disappointed because the No. 66 car could have let me go by earlier," Angelelli said. "I lost so much time behind him and that reduced my chances to get close to the No. 4 and try to pass. It's a shame. Like I said though, it's good for the championship. We're back in the lead by seven points and we need to finish all the races possibly on the podium and then we can think about the championship."

Bergmeister--who led twice for 15 laps--and co-driver Max Papis finished third in the No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley to complete the third podium sweep of the season for Pontiac. It was the third 1-2-3 sweep for Pontiac this season, all of which came in Florida events. It was also Bergmeister's second-straight podium finish and his third of the season overall. He and Papis, the 2004 Daytona Prototype co-champion, also finished third in the Grand Prix of Miami in March.

McDowell and his co-driver, Memo Gidley, took their third-consecutive fourth-place finish to once again equal their career-best results in Daytona Prototype competition. McDowell held the lead for four laps. Milka Duno and Jan Lammers rounded out the top five in the No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford. It was Duno's third top-five result of the season, while it was the second top five in three races for Lammers.

Elsewhere, Pruett and Diaz finished sixth in the No. 01 machine, as Pruett--who led for nine laps--was forced to battle his way back from a drive-through penalty for making avoidable contact with the No. 65 TRG Pontiac GTO.R driven by Andy Lally. JC France led for the first time since the 2004 Rolex 24 At Daytona when he headed the field in the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar on Lap 41 owing to a slightly different pit strategy. France and co-driver Hurley Haywood finished 10th

In a similar scenario to France, Dominic Cicero II led for the first time in his Rolex Series career when he headed the field for four laps in the No. 5 Speed Secrets Ford Crawford for Essex Racing before spinning on Lap 27. He and co-driver James Gue wound up 11th overall.

The Brumos Porsche 250 featured four stars from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series circuit, and while all four drivers were the only NASCAR pilots to turn any laps at Daytona International Speedway on this day due to heavy midday rains, it was not a banner evening. Two-time NASCAR champion Terry Labonte and his brother, 2000 NEXTEL Cup champion Bobby Labonte, were the highest-finishing NASCAR representatives. They came home 15th in the No. 44 Loctite/Henkel/DAYTONA USA Pontiac Doran, one lap down to the winners.

Kyle Petty, who ran as high as second place at one point, came home 17th alongside co-drivers Tony Ave and Brian Tuttle in the debut race for the No. 7 Tuttle Team Racing Pontiac Riley. Tony Stewart, the 2002 NEXTEL Cup champion, worked his way up from seventh on the starting grid to third place at one point during his stint in the No. 20 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford. However, problems with the car's heat exchanger forced a great deal of fluid out of the car as Stewart pitted to turn the car over to co-driver Andy Wallace. Stewart and Wallace wound up 22nd.

HAND AND MARKS TAKE FOURTH GT CLASS WIN OF 2005 FOR BMW TEAM PTG AT DAYTONA

In a GT race that featured five different class leaders, Joey Hand wanted until Lap 64 of the 70-lap race to take the lead and put himself, co-driver Justin Marks and the No. 16 F1 Air BMW Team PTG in victory lane for the Brumos Porsche 250. It was the fourth class win this season for BMW Team PTG, the third for Hand and the second for Marks.

"It is a good day for PTG," Hand said. "The guys on our team just worked really hard. We blew a motor in the second practice and they had to work hard and put a new motor and gearbox in. We didn't even get an install lap in and didn't run the car at all before the race. We just went right out and Justin was the test dummy and he got through all the traffic."

The No. 14 Autometrics Motorsport Porsche of Cory Friedman and Leh Keen--which won the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen two weeks ago--looked to make it two-in-a-row but was forced to pit for fuel with only six laps remaining, allowing Hand to take the lead.

"The big thing was strategy," Hand said. "Tom Milner picked the perfect strategy and that's what won it for us against the Porsches. Overall, it was a great day. It's not what we expected, but Justin and I are glad we got it together."

The win was the 50th for BMW Team PTG and marks the year anniversary of Marks' first win with the team.

"This race last year was my first win with the team," Marks said. "This feels really good. At Watkins Glen, we had a chance at the end to win, and I wanted it really bad because it would have been the 50th win. So to come here and win the 50th race for BMW and PTG is really special. This is my best win with the team so far. The results just show how good the team and all the guys are."

The No. 14 Porsche's last-minute pit stop also allowed the No. 21 BMW Team PTG of Bill Auberlen and Tom Milner to move up to second. Ryan and John Dalziel in the No. 61 SAMAX Porsche GT3 Cup finished third. Keen and Friedman finished fourth, while Jim Tafel and Andrew Davis in the No. 73 Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 Cup finished fifth. All of the top-five finishers held the class lead at one point or another.

The No. 80 Synergy Racing Porsche GT3 Cup of Craig Stanton and David Murry finished sixth, and Stanton continues to lead in the GT point standings with an 18-point lead over his co-driver (196-178). With the victory tonight, Hand has moved to third in points with 175 points.

Tafel, Davis, Keen and Friedman are now in a four-way tie for fourth in the GT standings with 172 points. Andy Lally and Marc Bunting came into the race second in points, but an incident with the No. 01 Lexus Daytona Prototype spoiled the debut of the new Pontiac GTO.R for TRG. The duo finished 20th in class and are now tied with Marks in eighth position with 167 points.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Wallace , Milka Duno , Jan Lammers , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Kyle Petty , Butch Leitzinger , Memo Gidley , Max Papis , Scott Pruett , Wayne Taylor , Bill Auberlen , Tony Ave , Joey Hand , Elliott Forbes-Robinson , Luis Diaz , Andy Lally , Hurley Haywood , Jörg Bergmeister , Michael McDowell , JC France , Max Angelelli , James Gue , Justin Marks , Andrew Davis , Craig Stanton , Cory Friedman , Marc Bunting , Chip Ganassi , Dominic Cicero , Jim Tafel , John Dalziel , Brian Tuttle
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Krohn Racing