Leighton Reese second to Cadillac's ringer in Sunday's Round 7 of World Challenge GT Series at Mosport August 8, 2004 -- Bowmanville, Ontario Canada -- When NASCAR teams are in need of a road racing specialist they usually call on Ron Fellows...
Leighton Reese second to Cadillac's ringer in Sunday's Round 7 of World Challenge GT Series at Mosport
August 8, 2004 -- Bowmanville, Ontario Canada -- When NASCAR teams are in need of a road racing specialist they usually call on Ron Fellows and when General Motors needed someone to anchor their factory Corvette efforts in international endurance racing they called on Ron Fellows and when Cadillac was looking for a win at Mosport they of course called on Toronto resident Ron Fellows.
Fellows delivered for Cadillac as he led every lap and won Sunday's SPEED World Challenge GT race this Sunday at Mosport Park. The guy who shadowed Fellows all the way to the checkered flag was Minnetonka Minnesota driver Leighton Reese driving the Banner Engineering Chevrolet Corvette.
Leighton qualified 3rd and right from the standing start Reese muscled the Banner Corvette up to back bumper of Fellows Cadillac and even got up along side on the first lap but he didn't have enough to beat Fellows today but Rees and the Banner Corvette was, in everyone's eyes, clearly the second best car and driver combination in today's race.
"We got a good launch off the start," Reese said with a big smile. "The standing starts are a lot harder than they look and they are really easy to screw up. My first start at Sebring I just made smoke and noise. I'm getting better at it."
"The Banner Corvette was great. I chased Ron around and I thought he missed a gear coming out of 5B and got a good shot on him and got up next to him and when I broke out from being his draft it was like hitting a brick wall."
"I knew I didn't have much of a shot," Reese continued. "He was on the inside line and he has great brakes. That was as close as I got to leading."
Of course being the best is always the ultimate goal in motor sports but when you are a small group of professionals up against a factory backed effort driven by one of the best drivers North America has to offer and on his home track a strong second place was like winning to Leighton Reese.
"Joe Kantarik put a pretty great car under me today," Reese said from the victory podium. "I have to thank Joe and Rob and the entire Banner Racing crew they did a great job today."
"To get here was a little over due but Mosport has been good to me," Reese said in answer to a question about his strong finish today. "I've won a 24-hour race here with Gigliotti as a teammate and put an ASA stock car into second here too."
"Its good racing here," Reese said of racing in the SPEED World Challenge Series. "Hopefully SCCA can pick up some more prize money and sponsorships and really click it up to the next level. The format is excellent!"
While Sunday's World Challenge GT race wasn't as exciting to Leighton Reese or the thousands of fans in attendance here at Mosport finally realizing their potential was plenty exciting to Leighton Reese and his Banner Engineering racing team.
For Leighton Reese and the Banner Engineering racing team Mosport 2004 is now an excellent memory. Memories of both Saturday and Sunday's races. While memories might last in the SPEED World Challenge Series there is little time for remembering as Reese and Kantarik now have to go back to Minnesota and figure out how they can get back to the podium when the series gets to Road America in Elkhart lake Wisconsin later in August.
One thing for sure one shouldn't bet against the Banner Racing Team for as Joe Kantarik said, "We're starting to get a hang of this World Challenge thing!"
The Saturday's Round 7 World Challenge GT race, or the second half of the Mosport double header can be seen on SPEED TV as Saturday's will be broadcast on August 15th at 3 PM Eastern Time.