‘V’ Stands for Victory — and Varsha and Vorrath

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Sunday, July 24, 2005 MONT-TREMBLANT, Que., Can. – Finally getting his day in the sun, Matt Varsha broke through for his first win in the Skip Barber National Championship Presented by RACER, taking round nine in flag-to-flag fashion on Saturday at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant. On Sunday, Jordy Vorrath notched his third victory of the year on after a mighty battle with… Varsha.

The young son of SPEED sports announcer Bob Varsha dominated the weekend — he was the polesitter for both races, set fastest race-lap in each, and led 23 of the 28 total laps — and put himself within shouting distance of championship leader Gerardo Bonilla. For his part, Vorrath paired his Sunday win with a second place on Saturday and is now just 25 points out of first place in the race for the $100,000 title bonus, with four races to go. Leader Gerardo Bonilla may have been out-raced at Mont-Tremblant, yet he still managed two solid fourth-place results, putting 24 more tallies in his ledger.

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The field rips into One on Saturday. Points leader Bonilla (red car up front) briefly held P2.

In the weekend’s first race, Varsha from pole kept everyone behind him right from the start. After a full course yellow on lap three to get young Jonathan Goring — he won one of those two marvelous drafting battles at Road America earlier this month — out of the Turn Two sand, Varsha looked cool as a cucumber and smooth as silk as he put three- and four-10ths per lap on P2 for the rest of the race to take the win that everyone knew was due. Bonilla kept second for couple of laps but eventually fell prey to Vorrath. Garrett Zine and Cole Nelson (also a race winner, at VIR in April) also bundled Bonilla backward. When Zine fell off the road in the Turn Four-Five complex mid-race, Nelson got his third place and Bonilla fourth. Andy Rossetto, winner of the other aero battle at Road America, took a fine fifth.

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Matt Varsha pounds the cowl in happy celebration of getting a long-awaited SBNC win.

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Cole Nelson now has four podiums in addition to his win at VIR.

In Sunday morning qualifying for race two, Varsha remained on fire, taking his second pole of the weekend, a full half-second clear of Vorrath and Bonilla. At the start of the early afternoon race, though he kept the lead the first half of the opening lap, Varsha “couldn’t get the car to turn” in Eight (a second-gear hairpin that leads onto the long backstraight) and paid the price, as Vorrath got past him before the turn-in for 10. But Varsha fixed the problem the next time around and did the same deed to Vorrath, getting inside for the lead as they shot through 10, a very quick fourth gear righthander. With the two blue cars looking like one, the two V Boys promptly marched away from the rest of the field. On the 11th of the scheduled 14 laps, Vorrath again took advantage of Varsha’s inability to get Turn Eight just right and grabbed the lead for good going into 10; Varsha stayed right with him but finished half a tick behind.

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In Turn 10, this particular try for the lead didn’t work for Vorrath (#38). Next time round, it did.

Meanwhile the fight for third through sixth was awesome. Fast corners and slow, it didn’t matter, we saw cars hub-to-hub everywhere. There were drag races from Eight down to 10, wheels dropping at the exits of T2 and T7 (two 100 mph+ righthand sweepers), side by side through Turn 14, a first gear, up-then-down hairpin — it was great. The protagonists were Nelson, Zine, Bonilla and Rossetto, and for the entire second half of the race, there was only one lap where everyone was in the same position as the lap before. On the last lap, Zine put a late but perfectly executed pass on Bonilla going into 10 to take third. A half-mile later, Nelson got inside a slightly wide Bonilla in that last hairpin and they ran wheel to wheel for the last 300 yards. When they crossed the line it was literally too close to call. Timing & Scoring called it out on the radio: Bonilla over Nelson for fourth, by .004 of a second…
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Garrett Zine raced like a champ on Sunday, taking third place from Bonilla at the end.

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Vorrath’s winning weekend put him back into second place in the points chase for the $100,000.

The series now heads back to Wisconsin, supporting the August 20-21 Road America 500 ALMS weekend, for rounds 11 and 12. Vorrath, Nelson and Varsha each now have a legitimate shot at the championship — but they’ll need at least one truly poor result out of Bonilla in the last four races to do it.

July 23, 2005, Round 9 of 14, Skip Barber National Championship Presented by RACER
Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant, 15-turn, 2.65-mile road course
Start position in parentheses

1. (1) Matt Varsha, Atlanta, Ga., 14 laps, 78.643 average mph

2. (2) Jordy Vorrath, White Rock, B.C., Canada, 14
3. (5) Cole Nelson, Atwater, Calif., 14
4. (4) Gerardo Bonilla, Orlando, Fla., 14
5. (6) Andy Rossetto, Grafton, Wis., 14
6. (7) Paul Albert, Ottawa, Ont., Canada, 14
7. (3) Garrett Zine, Rio Linda, Calif., 14
8. (8) Winston de Wardt, Steamboat Springs, Colo., 14
9. (10) Richard Heistand, Sunny Isles, Fla., 14
10. (11) Jimmy Holden, Tiona, Pa., 14
11. (9) Jonathan Goring, Norfolk, Conn., 13 (spun, rejoined)
Race length: 14 laps of 2.65-mile, 14-turn road course for 37.1 miles
Time of race: 28 minutes, 18.310 seconds
Winner’s average speed: 78.643 mph
Margin of victory: 6.740 seconds
Lap leaders: Varsha, 1 – 14
Fastest race lap: Varsha, 1:48.236, lap 12
Fastest qualifier: Varsha, 1:47.902

July 24, 2005, Round 10 of 14, Skip Barber National Championship Presented by RACER
Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant, 15-turn, 2.65-mile road course
Start position in parentheses

1. (2) Jordy Vorrath, White Rock, B.C., Canada, 14 laps, 87.980 average mph
2. (1) Matt Varsha, Atlanta, Ga., 14 laps
3. (4) Garrett Zine, Rio Linda, Calif., 14
4. (3) Gerardo Bonilla, Orlando, Fla., 14
5. (5) Cole Nelson, Atwater, Calif., 14
6. (7) Andy Rossetto, Grafton, Wis., 14
7. (9) Paul Albert, Ottawa, Ont., Canada, 14
8. (6) Jonathan Goring, Norfolk, Conn., 14
9. (11) Jimmy Holden, Tiona, Pa., 14
10. (8) Winston de Wardt, Steamboat Springs, Colo., 14
11. (10) Richard Heistand, Sunny Isles, Fla., 7 (spun, retired)

Race length: 14 laps of 2.65-mile, 14-turn road course for 37.1 miles
Time of race: 25 minutes, 18.073 seconds
Winner’s average speed: 87.980 mph
Margin of victory: 0.562 seconds
Lap leaders: Vorrath, 1; Varsha, 2 – 10; Vorrath. 11 – 14
Fastest race lap: Varsha, 1:47.404, lap 14
Fastest qualifier: Varsha, 1:47.636

Top 10 in points after 10 of 14 rounds:
1. Gerardo Bonilla, 155
2. Jordy Vorrath, 130
3. Cole Nelson, 126
4. Matt Varsha, 121
5. Garrett Zine, 85
6. Andy Rossetto, 83
7. Paul Albert, 68
8. Alan Sciuto, 56
9. Richard Heistand, 50

10. Winston de Wardt, 50

Next races: Rounds 11 and 12, Road America, August 19-21, with ALMS

Rick Roso

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