Daniel Di Leo, an eighteen-year-old race driver from Markham, Ontario, is quietly carving his name in the US-based Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship. With each passing race, Daniel moves closer and closer to achieving his first ...
Daniel Di Leo, an eighteen-year-old race driver from Markham, Ontario, is quietly carving his name in the US-based Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship. With each passing race, Daniel moves closer and closer to achieving his first win.
Di Leo, who started racing karts at the age of nine, aspires to a professional racing career and saw Skip Barber's "spec" series as an effective way to push his skills. He stands as one of the youngest competitors in the series and, with this being only his first year racing cars, is well behind in the experience department. That, however, is being addressed rapidly.
This past weekend, the series visited Road America in Wisconsin, for the third of seven double-race weekends. On Saturday, Daniel finished sixth after starting sixteenth and then took his Select Auto Collision/Max Auto Supply/Corporate Benefit car to a superb fourth on Sunday. What's more, Daniel felt he was in line for a podium-position finish on Sunday.
Indeed, while running fourth on the last lap, Daniel figured he could pick up one or two places because he was certain that the driver ahead of him would make a kamikaze move to grab second. Daniel planned to dart past when the opportunity presented itself. In anticipation of contact between the cars ahead, Daniel dropped back a little and waited. The move came at the final corner, but the contact was quite heavy and Daniel was forced to take evasive action. He avoided the tangle and passed both cars, but he was slowed enough to allow two cars behind him to lunge by. Net gain, zero... this time.
"I think my strategy would have paid off nine times out of ten," Daniel reported. "But after struggling with the car on Saturday, I'm happy with Sunday's finish. I was right with the leaders, I had the speed to win."
Since the series began, Daniel has shown increasing competitiveness as he has become more accustomed to the feel of a race car. Recent results have seen him haul himself to sixth place in the series standings and ready to vault into the top five.
"Consistently good finishes are important," Daniel said. "I want to win races, and I know that will happen soon, but I'd rather collect points than crash out while trying to win."
Daniel's next opportunity to reach the top step of the podium will come when the series visits Putnam Park in Indiana, August 4-6.