Southern Series @ Moroso
Monday, December 13, 2004 Jonathan Miller, Richard Heistand, Craig Duerson and Matt Varsha all earned helmet stickers with a ”1” on them as rounds five and six of the Southern Series ran at Moroso Motorsports Park. Even ”The Boss” showed up to race!
This was the weekend’s 18-car, 17-lap opener, and when Victor Pedrosa flew off the road in Turn Five on the first lap, Jonathan Miller was home free, finishing about 20 seconds up on Richard Heistand, the Rookie of the Race. Special kudos to Sergio Alvez: Starting from the next to last row, Alvez rocketed to the front. Into the top 10 by the close of lap one, Alvez had hauled himself to fifth before the one-third mark. Halfway, he was up to fourth, where he crossed the line, garnering a ”3” sticker thanks to John Peterson’s 20 second post-race penalty for going bass-ackwards on course late in the race after a spin in T6. Mike Gomez, Carlos Llano and Victor Pedrosa came home fifth, sixth and seventh, with Jonathan Smith, George Ebel and Brandon Huff rounding out the top 10.
Richard Heistand got to stand high on the podium, thanks to his first-time win. The ”Dumping of the H2O” ritual is duly executed!
With Miller jumping up to the Championship group, Sunday’s 14-lap Sportsman race was a potboiler between Heistand, Pedrosa and Peterson. Peterson led the first lap, then Gomez snatched it a lap later. That lead lasted had no shelf life, however; On lap three Gomez OCE’d in the chicane! Heistand took advantage and got around Peterson to lead the lap. Now it was a three-car fiesta, Heistand fending off the advances of Pedrosa and Peterson. By halfway, Heistand and Pedrosa were lapping under 1:40 and starting to gap Peterson. On the next to last lap, Pedrosa got by, but the impressive Heistand took the lead back to win by a hair (.394 MoV). Peterson got his P3, Smith a fine fourth and Gomez recovering beautifully from his oof to finish fifth. The battling Llano and Chris Lee were next across the stripe, followed by 12-year-old Hayden Duerson, son of whip-quick Craig, a longtime Skippy-ite. Lee Fischer and Rhonda Hill rounded out the top 10.
We know when your birthdays are up! There is no escape…
Speaking of Daddy Duerson… With Craig entering his first Southern Series event of the year, he showed no signs of rust, grabbing the lead from 2005 National Championship title contender Matt Varsha on the second go-round and mightily fending him off through the first 13 laps. (Another National title hopeful, Mark Burt, would have likely fought at the front had he not gone four-off in the second corner right at the git-go.) A bit too hot into Three, Varsha went agricultural on lap 14, and the race was over. Duerson had the fastest lap — his 36.8 besting Varsha’s 37.6 — on his way to a 24-second MoV over Chris Hill, who in turn was 20 seconds up on the more-impressive-every-weekend David Libby. Varsha recovered to fourth, J. Miller (over from the Sportsman group) a solid fifth. Daniel A. Parras Lazo — that’s one driver, not three — put in a great effort for sixth, just a tick in front of Gary Manheimer. Laura Rowe, Burt and Ron Hayter rounded out the top 10.
”Little D” (that would be Hayden Duerson), 12 years old, made his Skippy debut at Moroso. ”Big D” won twice to show the boy how it’s done.
Yep, Daddy D. did it again, this time leading every lap. Duerson took full advantage of the fact that one of his fastest compatriots — Varsha — was starting at the back and would have to slice his way forward very quickly. Which he duly did. Varsha lopped off a car per lap through the first four circuits (helped by some ”car-to-car” between John Pew and John Peterson early on) and was up to fourth when he got by Libby on lap eight. Meanwhile up front, Duerson, Hill and Burt were one-two-three, all lapping in the low 1:38s. With just a lap to go, Hill got himself high-centered on the curbing in T2 and that was that: Duerson wins, Burt second, Varsha third, Libby fourth and Alvez (from Sportsman) fifth.
”The Boss,” Aaron Hollander (l.), found some time to get back into the cockpit and scored points in both races. George Ebel (c.) had a ninth and an 11th, while International TV Superstar Bob Varsha (r.) popped down from Atlanta to support his son Matt.
When it was rumored that a Farms Illustrated writer was in the paddock, the boss went agricultural to ensure some coverage.
Hurricane Season Memorial
Former Red Bull F1 Driver Search candidate Scott Poirer, who made his name in the National as well as Barber Dodge, joined Varsha on the back row. Super wrenches Guy Beaucage and Dave Arnold — in the ”C” car — joined the festivities, plus instructor Matt Ferratusco and one of the fastest ”Masters,” John Pew. Daniel A. Parras Lazo (boy, that’s just fun to say…) was your leader for the first five laps, then Pew took the point for the next three. On-fire Varsha popped for the lead on lap nine, while Poirer was still fighting his way through the mid-pack tussles. But Scotty elbowed his way through and by the time there was a lap to go, he was able to get a leg up on Pew to take second, behind victor Varsha. Libby got another good finish, and Super Dave was fifth. Pedrosa tossed away a better finish than he ended up with (sixth) when he spun in Six on lap 10, and on the same lap early leader Daniel A. Parras Lazo got himself high-centered in Two.
As the South approaches mid-season, with 336 points Matt Varsha is the Championship Group leader by a healthy margin, but the battle for second is quite tight between Chris Hill (203), David Libby (200) and Laura Rowe (180).
In Sportsman, Mike Gomez sits on top with 60, but hot on his heels are Carlos Llano (44), Murray Marden (42), Rhonda Hill (30) and Richard Heistand (27). Next up: Road Atlanta!
At Skip Barber, we’ve got lots of racing over the winter; here are the remaining schedules for both the South and the West…
January 14-16, Road Atlanta, Braselton, Ga.
February 18-20, Sebring Full Course, Sebring, Fla.
March 4-6, Roebling Road, Savannah, Ga.
April 1-3, Daytona 24-Hour Course, Daytona, Fla.
January 14-16, Road Atlanta, Braselton, Ga.
March 11-13. Laguna Seca, Monterey, Calif.
April 8-10, Laguna Seca, Monterey, Calif.