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March 28, 2012
PROgression: Matthew Di Leo Gets Podium at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
 

Matthew DiLeo on the podium in St. Petersburg (Photo: John Hendrick)
Matthew DiLeo on the podium in St. Petersburg
(Photo: John Hendrick)

Round Two of the 2012 Cooper Tires USF 2000 Championship Powered by Mazda took place on the Streets of St. Petersburg, FLA, alongside the first race of the Indy Car season. By the end of Thursday’s practice, Matthew Di Leo had earned the fourth fastest time. During Friday’s qualifying session, Matthew maintained his fourth spot on the grid.
"It was hard to get a fast time when my pit spot is at the back of the pack. It takes me longer to find a clear lap", said the young Ontario driver. It was clear the MDL Racing team had car 56 ready for competition.

In Race One, Di Leo sat on the outside of row two but he dropped back to 6th on the 1st lap. He recovered so that by the last quarter of the race, Di Leo was battling for 3rd place. After a few unsuccessful passing attempts, he thought he could make a clear pass in Corner Four of the final lap but the two cars made contact. Di Leo said, "I really thought I could make the pass stick, but it didn't. I'm hoping for a better day in tomorrow’s race because I start fourth again."

And Saturday proved to be a better day indeed, as Di Leo maneuvered well around an early crash that saw the 3 drivers ahead of him unable to continue. Once the green flag was up again, Di Leo challenged hard for 2nd place. Remaining calm and cool, he drove a great race to finish in 3rd place, his second top-5 finish in two rounds of racing.

Matthew would like to thank Res Precast and his team Peter Dragffy, Mo Larsen and Adam Kretschmer for all their support and looks forward to Round Three.
 

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