Matt Varsha captures first career victory at Trois-Rivieres August 6, 2006. Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada. Matt Varsha, of Atlanta, Georgia, drove to the first victory of his Star Mazda career in Round Eight of the Star Mazda Championship ...
Matt Varsha captures first career victory at Trois-Rivieres
August 6, 2006. Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada. Matt Varsha, of Atlanta, Georgia, drove to the first victory of his Star Mazda career in Round Eight of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres. After jumping into the lead on the opening lap Varsha would go wire-to-wire in his #45 Racers Edge Motorsports Mazda, finishing 0.196 seconds ahead of Michael Potekhen as the race finished under yellow. Championship points leader Adrian Carrio completed the podium for the thirty-six lap event.
"It's unfortunate that the race had to end under the yellow flag but it feels awesome to bring home my first victory for the team since they gave me a great car right from the start of the weekend," Varsha, the son of Speed Channel Formula One broadcaster Bob Varsha, explained. "After Jenson Button got his first F1 victory today my dad called and told me that the table was set and it was my turn to go out and get a victory! I was able to jump into the lead on the start when Ryan Justice slowed a little early entering the first corner and from that point on I was focused on driving quick laps to keep the rest of the field behind me and make that victory happen."
After struggling in qualifying to line up sixth on the grid, Potekhen, driving the #53 Avenue Communities Apex Racing Mazda, was able to charge into second place on the opening lap, a position he would hold throughout the 36-lap event. "I walked the track this morning as well as yesterday and looking in turn one I was certain there was no way that two cars could make it through side-by-side so I was planning on moving to the inside line on the start," the Tempe, Arizona resident revealed. "When the green flag flew it seemed like Logan Gomez missed a shift and the outside row launched forward so I had to go the outside which wound up playing right into my hand as I was able get by a couple of cars in turn one and was set up on the inside for turn two. Adrian left the door open a little going into the corner and I was able to squeeze through into second place."
Carrio, the current championship points leader, was pleased to bring his #14 Rockford Fosgate World Speed Motorsports Mazda home in the final podium spot after a difficult race in Portland which saw him go off on the opening lap. "With a track as challenging as this, where a single mistake can cost you, it feels good to finish on the podium and get those points for the championship," the seventeen-year old driver from Monument, Colorado, said. "I got a good start and was able to move to third and almost had second place before Michael got through. The World Speed Motorsports guys gave me a fast car but I couldn't find a way around Michael and wasn't going to make a low-percentage maneuver to try and gain the spot."
With four races remaining in the 2006 championship chase Carrio holds a thirteen point lead over Potekhen with 289 points to Potekhen's 276 points. Kevin Lacroix, from St. Eustache, Quebec, sits in third place in the championship with 252 points after bringing his #74 Uni-Select Auto Parts John Walko Racing Mazda home fourth in today's event, climbing up from eighth place on the grid after being penalized two qualifying positions for a checkered flag violation in the morning warm-up.
In the Expert Championship, for drivers aged 30-44, Dan Tomlin III, from Dallas, Texas, captured his first class victory of the season, finishing twelfth overall in his #56 Team Tomlin entry and moving him to third in the championship with 102 points. Gerardo Bonilla, from Orlando, Florida, continues to sit atop the class championship with 136 points in the #9 Skip Barber Andersen Racing Team Mazda while Brian Thienes holds second place in his #77 Thienes Engineering JDC Motorsports Mazda with 106 points.
In the Masters Championship, for drivers aged 45 and older, former Masters Champion Doug Peterson captured his second class victory of the year with an eighth place finish overall in his #87 3-Dimensional Services American Speed Factory Mazda and climbs from fourth to first in the championship. Ken Losch, who finished right behind Peterson on the track climbs into second place in the championship with 110 points, while John Faulkner, who came into the weekend in first place, drops to third after finishing fourth in the class this afternoon.
In the Team Championship World Speed Motorsports, which lost the points lead the previous weekend in Portland, returns to the top of the charts with 148 points. John Walko Racing drops one spot to second place with 142 points and Apex Racing climbs into third place with 134 points.
The series now heads to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, where it will join the American Le Mans Series for the Generac 500 at Road America on August 17-19. Round Eight of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear is scheduled to air on Speed Channel at 1:00 PM Eastern Time on Sunday, August 13th. For more information please visit www.starmazda.com