After finishing second the last three years, Michael Varacins, of Burlington, Wis., captured his first National Championship Saturday after a dominating performance in the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Charles Hearn, of Houston, Texas, and Brian Jennerjahn, of Hartford City, Ind., completed the top three.
Driving the No. 65 Speed Sport Engineering/Hoosier/Veetech Speed Sport AM-5, Varacins started from the pole, got the holeshot on the start and drove away from the 41-car field in a way that rarely happens in the ultra-competitive Formula Vee class. He built a 30-second advantage over the battle for second place before a full-course caution on the final lap bunched the field.
Officially, Varacins won by 25.306 seconds under caution, still ranking as the second-largest margin of victory behind Dave Weitzenhof's 1972 win by 63.8 seconds. He averaged 86.993 mph.
"I can't even begin to describe it," Varacins said of finally breaking into victory lane. "This is a very long time coming. I don't think it's going to sink in for a day or so when you get home and take a deep breath, and unpack the car and realize you were the best that year. It's going to take a while to set in, but right now, it sure feels great.
"My dad and I both work awfully hard at this to get the cars as perfect as we can and today it kind of showed. I'm not sure what was going on behind me, but after the first lap I realized I had a little bit of a gap. I just put my head down and kept clicking off laps, and I knew I would be pretty hard to catch. It was a fantastic race."
Varacins also set the race's fastest lap by more than one second, with a 2:44.196 (87.700 mph). His win capped a dream season that concluded with the coveted SCCA Super Sweep, which rewards a driver winning the Runoffs, his Divisional point title, a key qualifying event and the nationwide point title all in the same class.
"It was just a dream season," Varacins added. "You can't ask for anything better than we had this year. You expect that at some point, something is going to go wrong, and everything just went perfect this year. I couldn't ask for anything more."
While Varacins' race may have appeared somewhat scripted, the battle for second was as unpredictable and exciting as it gets. In typical Formula Vee fashion on the four-mile circuit, a dozen cars battled for the second spot, with the cars running three- and even four-wide at different times.
Hearn, who started 10th in his No. 2 Hearn Contractors/Noble Racing Vortech, came out on top of the battle for second to earn his first-career podium finish. He and Jennerjahn's No. 48 Jennerjahn Machine Inc. Vortech were in front of a lap-12 incident in Turn 12 that brought out the full-course caution that effectively ended the race, securing their positions on the podium.
Former Champion Roger Siebenaler, of Williston, Vt., finished fourth in his No. 72 Autowerks/Hoosier Mysterian. Another former Champion, Stevan Davis, of Danielsville, Ga., came from 16th on the grid to finish fifth in his No. 80 Goodyear/Butler/Wedge Racing Racer's Wedge SB-1.
Russell Fredericks, of Northport, N.Y., was awarded the Sunoco Hard Charger award for advancing from 41st on the grid to finish 19th in his No. 28 northshorevethospital.com Caracal D.
The Formula Vee National Championship race will be available on demand at www.speedcasttv.com/scca shortly after the conclusion of the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Provisional results from Saturday's Formula Vee National Championship Race, part of the 46th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (1), Michael Varacins, Burlington, WI, Speed Sport AM-5, 13.
2, (10), Charles Hearn, Houston, TX, Vortech Vortech, 13.
3, (4), Brian Jennerjahn, Hartford City, IN, Vortech 2009, 13.
4, (8), Roger Siebenaler, Williston, VT, Mysterian M-2, 13.
5, (16), Stevan Davis, Danielsville, GA, Racer's Wedge SB-1, 13.
6, (12), Ron Whitston, Neenah, WI, Protoform P2, 13.
7, (3), Chris Jennerjahn, Hartford City, IN, Vortech 2008, 13.
8, (17), Bob Neumeister, Pueblo, CO, Vortech Vortech, 13.
9, (19), Dean Curtis, East Stroudsburg, PA, Womer EV-3, 13.
10, (18), Gary Kittell, Tully, NY, Caracal D, 13.
11, (15), Alan Harrington, Mulino, OR, Protoform P3, 13.
12, (11), Ed Womer, Morningside, MD, Womer EV-3, 13.
13, (5), Jeffrey Loughead, Darien, IL, Vortech CR-04, 13.
14, (21), Gary Blanarik, Baden, PA, Silver Bullet Eins, 13.
15, (22), David Scaler, Flemington, NJ, Mysterian CM2, 13.
16, (26), Michael Vrchota, Eden Prairie, MN, Vortech 2002, 13.
17, (38), Brandon Abbott, Livonia, MI, Vector AM-1, 13.
18, (39), Ron Wake, Lafayette, CA, Mysterian M4, 13.
19, (41), Russell Fredericks, Northport, NY, Caracal D, 13.
20, (35), Robert Posner, Bellevue, WA, Protoform P2, 13.
21, (27), Dale Rader, Reading, PA, Protoform P-2, 13.
22, (20), Charles McCormick, Clarkston, MI, Protoform P2, 13.
23, (37), Stuart Delaney, Plymouth, MI, Caldwell D13, 13.
24, (42), Albert Spadin, Schellsburg, PA, Protoform P2, 13.
25, (13), Donnie Isley, Fletcher, NC, Agitator 16, 12.
26, (43), James Vaseff, Decatur, GA, Citation XTC-41, 12.
27, (7), Richard Shields, West Mifflin, PA, CVFD VDF-2, 11.
28, (2), Bruce Livermore, Stillwater, MN, Mysterian X-M2, 11.
29, (9), Dennis Andrade, Brush Prairie, WA, Vortech , 11.
30, (36), Philip Trinder, Houston, TX, Protoform P2, 11.
31, (24), Lisa Noble, Manhattan, KS, Vortech Rod Stout, 10.
32, (29), Andrew Abbott, Livonia, MI, Vector GB-4, 9.
33, (32), John Fuchs, Inglis, FL, Caracal D, 7.
DNF, (6), Brad Stout, Webster Groves, MO, Vortech Vortech, 5.
DNF, (14), Jonathan Weisheit, Baltimore, MD, Protoform P3, 4.
DNF, (34), Michael Saltenberger, Chicago, IL, Citation FV, 4.
DNF, (25), Nick Maurus, Winnetka, IL, Citation 06V, 0.
DNF, (28), Charlie Rogers, Powder Springs, GA, Protoform P2, 0.
DNF, (31), Quinn Posner, Gresham, OR, Protoform P3, 0.
DNF, (33), Michael Beaumia, Appleton, WI, Lazer MK-2B, 0.
DNF, (40), Donald Manthe, Santa Rosa, CA, Caracal Lynx, 0.
Time of Race: 36 minutes, 7.347 seconds
Margin of Victory: 25.306 seconds
Winner's average speed: 86.993 mph
Fastest race lap: #65 Michael Varacins, 2:44.196 (87.700 mph)
Lap leaders: Laps 1-13, Michael Varacins
Sunoco Hard Charger: #28 Russell Fredericks
Attached: (left to right) Hearn, Varacins and Jennerjahn
Credit: John Steflik/SCCA