Arizona’s Scott Phillips has shown great speed all year long. However, at the last race of the season, Phillips qualified less than half a second in front of Dave Varco, who had regularly been finishing second behind Phillips. When the green dropped, Varco chased Phillips and looked every bit as quick as the teen driver through certain portions of the track.
“It seemed like Dave Varco and I were going to have a pretty good race there for a while,” Phillips said, noting that an out-of-class car that spun into the tire barrier at the exit of the Sunrise turn and brought an early end to the race.
Varco tailed Phillips closely for a few laps, but then dropped back noticeably.
“I tried something different over the hill and it didn’t work, and I fell back a few car lengths,” Varco said. “From then, I kept slipping back a couple of car lengths every lap. So, I won’t do that again. But I figured out where I can pass him next time, so hopefully I’ll get in that position.”
The race of the race was for the third spot on the podium. Nova Brown, Ian Thomas and Wilson Steele all had a shot. The three had qualified within .800 seconds of one another.
Though Steele was fastest of the three in qualifying, his start was abysmal, and Brown and Thomas had gotten by him within the first two corners of the race. Steele picked off Thomas after two laps of aggressive braking and set his sights on Brown.
“So I was able to pressure him into a little mistake and he went off in Cotton Corners,” Steele said. “I wasn’t actually going to pass. That’s a horrible place to pass, but he had to defend a little, and he went off when he didn’t get off the brakes smoothly, because I could see his rear end wagging around. It finished under yellow, but it’s my first podium ever, and I’m ecstatic about that.
On Sunday, it was Joey Jordan who found the speed he was looking for on Saturday. Jordan qualified third on Sunday ahead of Brown and Steele, but behind Varco in second and Phillips on pole. At the finish, the order on the podium hadn’t changed. In fact, the qualifying order hadn’t changed with the exception of Steele, who had squeaked past Brown to take fourth.
Ultimately, Phillips wrapped up the regional championship by more the 100 points over Varco, with Rob Burgoon taking third in season points.