VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Andrew Bordin recorded his first KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship victory Saturday at the Molson Indy Vanouver when leader Matt Sielsky spun with two laps left. Bordin, of Woodbridge, Ont., held off Rino Mastronardi...
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Andrew Bordin recorded his first KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship victory Saturday at the Molson Indy Vanouver when leader Matt Sielsky spun with two laps left. Bordin, of Woodbridge, Ont., held off Rino Mastronardi to win the final, wild round of the four-race Player's Challenge championship.
Sielsky, of Northbrook, Ill, appeared headed to his first victory at Round 11, leading by as many as six seconds in his D&L Racing-LCI International/Emerald Financial Swift 008.a late in the contest before a momentary lapse allowed Bordin to slip by. Bordin, in the B.D.J.S. - Millennium Data Systems Swift, held off Mastronardi, of Pistoia, Italy, to win by 1.708 seconds. Sielsky took over the lead on lap seven of the 38-lap race when oil dropped by local driver Frank Allers led to a five-car pileup involving the top-five drivers, changing the face of the race.
Polesitter and race leader Jeff Shafer and MCI/PPI teammate Anthony Lazzaro, who was running second, both hit the fluid at turn eight, sliding into the tire wall, one after the other, ruining the team's bid for a 1-2 finish. Alex Tagliani, who was third, Memo Gidley, who was fourth, and Lee Bentham, who was fifth, all slid to a stop. Gidley and Bentham were able to finish the race.
Bentham, with a sixth-place finish, continues to lead the overall championship with 131 points. Gidley finished seventh to maintain second place in the points with 123 with just two races to go. Bordin's victory moved him into third with 118 points.
Bentham also won the Player's Challenge Championship for Canadian-based events, surpassing teammate Tagliani at the final race. Bentham finished with 62 points, Tagliani, whose day ended in that pivotal pile-up, finished second with 60 points and Bordin moved up into third with 48 points. All three drivers are Canadians.
"It's about time," said Bordin, who appeared headed to his fourth second-place finish of the season. "What comes around goes around. I've not had good luck in the last few races. We set up a the car properly and I relaxed all weekend. I didn't make any mistakes during qualifying and the race, and the team gave me a good car that went for the duration. If circumstances had been different and I'd had a lot of people in front of me, I might have pushed a little harder, but then I might have gone off course like everyone else, because it was so slippery out there. It was like racing in the rain, to tell you the truth."
Sielsky, who tied an Atlantic career-high with his third-place finish, was dismayed by his finish. "If I'd won, I'd be feeling terrific right now. I am definitely not very happy with the mistake I made. I just feel really bad for the team. But, we did get some points and moved up in the championship, which is good. I had a little misfire at the end, and I started thinking about it too much. I was thinking the way I shouldn't be thinking in the last two laps, but we'll get them at Laguna."
Mastronardi, though picking up his best finish in six Atlantic outings, felt a little like Sielsky following the race. "During the race, I was trying to stay close to the guy in front of me, and then, because of the accident, I ended up in the second position. I could've won today, because I was running faster than Andrew and Matt. My car was really fast, but Matt Sielsky was smarter than I was on the re-start. He gained a lot and put quite a gap between he and I, and that was it."
Despite the success by Bordin, Mastronardi and Sielsky at Vancouver, Bentham was perhaps the biggest winner of the weekend. Bentham, in the Player's-Forsythe/Indeck Swift 008.a, collected the $10,0000 winner's share of the Player's Challenge and actually added to his lead on Gidley, despite being part of the five-car melee on lap seven. "I'm happy because this finish gave me the Player's Challenge title and an eight-point lead in the Atlantic championship," said Bentham, of Richmond Hill, Ont. "This was a demolition derby. Coming out of the accident, my front wing was damaged and I had dropped from fifth to eighth. It was hard to take, but I managed to work my way back to fifth and Buddy Rice passed me on the last lap."
Rob MacDonald, of Keswick, Ont., drove his P-1 Racing-NTN Bearings/Player's Swift 008.a to a career-high fourth-place finish, in one of many remarkable drives at Vancouver. Lynx Racing's Buddy Rice finished fifth. Bordin, who picked up the $20,000 winner's share of the guaranteed $85,000 race purse, also earned the $1,000 "KOOL Rookie Challenge" award.
Mastronardi posted a fast-lap time of 1:15.386 to earn the $1,000 the "MCI Fast Pace" award. MacDonald earned his first-ever "KOOL Move of the Race" and its $1,000 bonus, along with the $1,000 "Yokohama Now You've Got Control" award.
ESPN2 will televise Saturday's Round 11 at the Molson Indy Vancouver on Sunday, Sept. 6, at 1 p.m., with repeat broadcasts on Monday, Sept. 7, at 4 a.m., on Thursday, Sept. 10, at 3 a.m., and on Monday, Nov. 30, at 4 a.m. ESPN International will telecast the race on Sunday, Sept. 6, at 1 p.m. CTV will air it in Canada on Saturday, Sept. 19, at 3 p.m., while French Canadian network RDS will broadcast the race on Friday, Sept. 11, at 7:30 p.m. All times are Eastern.
The KOOL /Toyota Atlantic Championship continues next Saturday, Sept. 12, at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif.