HOMESTEAD, MIAMI, FL, MAR. 8 — James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger won a flag-to-flag victory in the Rolex Sports Car Series Nextel 250 at Homestead-Miami Speedway today. The Anglo-American pairing, who started from pole, won the event by more than five seconds over their nearest competitor, the #37 Intersport Lola of Jon Field and Oliver Gavin.
The Dyson team`s efficiency during pit stops gave it a clear advantage over the rest of the field, and Weaver and Leitzinger avoided any major hiccups en route to their first victory of the year and their 16th career win together as driving partners.
Weaver spent the lion`s share of his first stint contending with Jack Baldwin`s Riley and Scott Judd after an early dice with Jon Field`s Lola. With a comfortable lead in hand, the Englishman pitted under yellow shortly after the halfway mark and handed off to Leitzinger. For the last 20 laps, in a replay of their spirited fight last year`s Watkins Glen Six Hours, Leitzinger was once again able to see off Oliver Gavin`s challenges. Lap after lap, as the pair sliced through traffic, Leitzinger was able to hold a 1.5-2 second lead over his English rival. Leitzinger stretched that lead toward the end of the event but a late-race full-course caution erased the gap between the two frontrunners. When the race restarted with eight laps to go, Leitzinger had a jump on Gavin and proceeded to stretch the distance, setting the race`s fastest lap in the process.
“What a great day,” James Weaver remarked after the race. “The car was absolutely flying and the Goodyears were excellent. I am very happy with the result.”
Team boss Rob Dyson, who was unable to attend the race today due to a scheduling conflict, was very pleased after watching Speedvision`s live telecast. “We have done a lot of development work on this car over the years, and it shows,” Dyson said. “I have got to give credit to James and Butch, who did a first-rate job today. The crew was perfect during the stops. I can not complain. It is a great boost after Daytona.”
With the win, Weaver and Leitzinger now head the Rolex Series drivers` championship, and Thetford / Norcold Dyson Racing takes the lead in the Team Championship.
The team will remain in Homestead through Wednesday this week. On Sunday it will take delivery of its new Riley and Scott mk3C, and the for next three days the team will be testing in preparation for the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 17.