Phoenix: Howard-Boss NO. 4 car DP race report

BOSS Snowplow Team Third in "Eventful" 250 EFR, Leitzinger gain in points with sixth podium of season Avondale, AZ (September 11, 2005) . The BOSS Snowplow Team scored a hard- fought third place finish in the ...

BOSS Snowplow Team Third in "Eventful" 250

EFR, Leitzinger gain in points with sixth podium of season

Avondale, AZ (September 11, 2005) . The BOSS Snowplow Team scored a hard- fought third place finish in the 250 at the Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday evening. It marked the sixth podium finish of the season for Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Butch Leitzinger and enabled the veteran road racers to gain valuable points in their quest for the coveted Rolex Sports Car Series Championship.

The 250 was the first Rolex Series race this season with only the Daytona Prototype cars competing. With twenty cars on the tight, challenging 1.51-mile Phoenix course, action was sure to be fast and furious. And, it certainly didn't take long to develop.

EFR qualified the BOSS Snowplow Pontiac Crawford in the 12th position with a fast lap of 59:239 / 79.740 mph on Friday afternoon. Starting from the sixth row, EFR knew that the first several laps of the race would be very critical. His prediction came true as the green flag waved and the cars entered turn one. The #54 and #6 made contact entering the turn sending debris directly into the path of the remainder of the field. EFR had to make an evasive move to the high side of the track and cut back across the grass to avoid the incident. As a result, EFR lost several positions in the running order, but managed to save the BOSS Pontiac Crawford from major problems.

EFR was able to work his way back through the field to the 11th position by lap 18. Then, on lap 19, the #67 Krohn Racing Riley and the #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford made contact between turns 10 and 11. Thinking that the caution flag would wave, EFR was called to the pits for service and a driver change. However, when the cars continued, no caution was called and the result left the BOSS Pontiac Crawford in the 19th position one lap down. However, the BOSS Team knew that it was still early in the race and everyone else would have to pit soon.

Butch Leitzinger would take control of the #4 BOSS Pontiac Crawford on lap 20 and begin his determined march through the field. Leitzinger methodically began to work his way through traffic, and, with the help of two timely cautions, assumed the lead under yellow on lap 77.

Leitzinger would maintain the top spot and help a comfortable margin until lap 108. Entering turn 9, the #6 Shank Racing Riley driven by Oswaldo Negri Jr. made contact with the left rear corner of the #4 BOSS Pontiac Crawford. The contact forced Leitzinger to spin and lose the lead that he held for 31 laps. However, Leitzinger was able to continue and raced back into the top five on lap 123.

Seven laps later, Leitzinger made an outside move on the #02 Lexus in turn 11 and down the front straight to move into the third position. With laps and time winding down, Leitzinger continued his pursuit although he trailed the second place car by 20+ seconds. Leitzinger would bring the BOSS Snowplow Pontiac Crawford to the checkered flag in the third position, the sixth podium finish of the season for the second-year Howard-Boss Motorsports Team.

"The car was really working very well," Leitzinger commented. "We were able to go from 12th to the lead and most of our positions were earned on the track. We did have excellent pit stops and gain positions there as well. I understand that people get excited and they think they see an opportunity to pass for the win. But, at this level of racing, people shouldn't be making desperate moves with no percentage possibility of coming out. It's very disappointing the lack of professionalism."

"It was a heck of a day today," EFR added. "We made a lot of errors in the beginning, and had to miss the action in turn one. Came back from the rear, then made a stop when we thought something was going on. We got way back again; got the lap back, and the cautions worked in our favor. Then, we got hit and went back again. But, we rallied and got back to third. It was one of those up-and-down days that's tough on you."

Their third-place finish enabled EFR, Leitzinger, and the BOSS Snowplow Team to move within seven points of 2nd-place Luis Diaz and Scott Pruett in the overall Rolex Series standings. EFR and Leitzinger have 301 compared to 308 for Diaz and Pruett. Leaders Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor have 344 points.

The next race on the Rolex Sports Car Series schedule for 2005 is the Crown Royal 250 at The Glen at Watkins Glen International. The 250-mile, 74-lap race is set for a 3 PM ET start on Saturday, September 24th. Practice and qualifying is set for September 22nd and 23rd. Speed Channel will provide live coverage of the Crown Royal 250.


Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Scott Pruett , Elliott Forbes-Robinson , Luis Diaz , Max Angelelli