Money sidelines Varsha Atlanta - Racing is an expensive proposition at any level. With bills mounting, and no financial help in sight, Matt Varsha’s bid for the 2006 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear has been shelved indefinitely. Making the news even sadder is the fact that next round of the series takes place this weekend on the 19-year old driver’s home track: Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia.
Racing the #45 Racers Edge Motorsports Mazda in Varsha’s rookie season in the series without significant financial support has been a compromise, forcing the team to forgo testing for example. But the REM team’s hard work and ingenuity, harnessed to Varsha’s driving ability, has produced seven top-ten finishes in the season’s ten races to date, including a victory on the streets of Trois Rivières, Quebec, and a runner-up finish in Montreal. Along the way Varsha has developed a well-earned reputation for exciting drives, attracting television exposure by posting a startlingly high number of passes in the races the 45 car finished, including a dazzling dash from 36th to 4th at the season opener in Sebring, Florida.
Ironically, it was another charge from a lowly starting position in the most recent race in Mosport, Ontario, that led to the undoing of the season. REM owner Jon Mirachi explains: “penalty issued at the Mosport event - for spinning off track during qualifying - forced Matt to start the rain-soaked race from the pits in 29th place without so much as a recon lap. He had skillfully worked his way up to 7th place when he went wide in Turn 2 and hit the wet grass. Unable to maintain control in the wet conditions he spun into the wall, ending his race.”
"The decision to suspend racing for the #45 entry was a very difficult and disappointing decision for the entire team," said Mirachi. "Everyone has worked so hard to stay in the hunt for the championship, but with the recent damage to the car, and having to start last again in Atlanta as a penalty for bringing out the caution flag in the Mosport incident, it just came down to cost vs. benefits. As much as it is going to hurt the team's morale and our position in the points, the simple truth is it would cost much more to run the race than it would to just sit it out and take the drop in points. It just couldn't be done without some financial help."
“It’s a gut-wrenching feeling to miss out on racing the track I know best in front of my family and friends in Atlanta” said Varsha, son of SPEED Formula One host Bob Varsha. “But we knew this situation was always a possibility as long as we ran without a major sponsor. I can’t thank Jon and Shari Mirachi enough for all the support they’ve given me. You just can’t ask for more than what they’ve done. And the guys on the team: Austin, Sean, Jim and Chris, have been like brothers to me. I wish them all the best with the sister car in the race this weekend, and hopefully we’ll be able to find some funding to enter the final race of the season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in October. A top five finish in the championship is still possible, and I’d love to accomplish that for Racers Edge.”
The Star Mazda race at Road Atlanta is scheduled for a one-hour broadcast on SPEED on Saturday, October 14th, at 1pm eastern time. Sponsorship and advertising opportunities are available with Matt Varsha and Racers Edge Motorsports. For further information, visit racersedgemotorsports.com, mattvarsha.com, and starmazda.com.