Barber Park: Southern Series Rounds 1 & 2
Thursday, November 04, 2004 A great track and good racing made for a solid opening weekend of the Southern championship…
National Championship ringer Matt Varsha appears very focused as he preps for his 2005 campaign by running the Southern Series, and on Saturday he put in a decisive “lights-to-flags” win. John Pew and John Greist are very quick, smart drivers and thus hung with Varsha much of the way, but eventually he motored on to the victory, helped in part by a Pew spin two laps from the end (though John kept his P2 position ahead of Greist). There was great dicing back through the pack, especially between Laura Rowe, Sergio Alves Dias, Jonathan Miller and David Libby, but spins, four-offs and post-race penalties resulted in a Rowe fourth, a Chris Hill fifth and a D.J. Vander Ley sixth.
Varsha, apparently showing off in front of Dad, international TV star Bob Varsha, took off at the crack of the bat and won by seven seconds over Pew. David Libby, coming on very strong of late, snatched a fine third when he overhauled Greist two laps from the end; Greist lost one more spot to Dias on the last lap. Robbie Card made a tremendous charge from last on the grid (he had an MDNF Saturday) to take sixth.
The Mentor Program is working great. At Barber Park, Laura Rowe (c.) mentored young (12) newbie D.J. Vander Ley (l.). D.J.’s dad Dan, who’s in the racing business himself, told us he thought the mentoring idea is ”excellent” and that Laura helped D.J. ”relax and feel accepted by Laura’s attention and calming personality, and for that I am most thankful.” And they both had success on the track: Rowe had a fourth and a seventh and Vander Ley a sixth and an eighth.
There was some real battling going on in this race! Miller, who was doing a double race weekend, and Phillip Ploskas put on a very entertaining show for the lead, while the races for third-fourth, fifth-sixth and seventh-eighth were equally intense. When we all caught our breath 16 laps later, Miller won, with Ploskas second — despite a last-lap, last-corner spin — and Mike Gomez third. Carlos Llano was just 2/10s behind Gomez in fourth, with Chris Lee and Brandon Huff fifth and sixth.