When the field converged on Buttonwillow Raceway Park for the last race of the 2013 season, rookie Brett Becker had nearly 100 points over Nova Brown and more than 200 than David Varco, who was in sixth.
But that was before any of them had dropped their five lowest scoring races. By the time the weekend was over, and the scores had been adjusted, David Varco had staged a huge comeback to take the SoCal Regional Championship.
For Saturday’s race, Spec Miata was grouped as usual with Spec E30 and 944 Spec, but also with Performance Touring cars. Those conditions made for a crowded start, especially considering the single wave green flag. Turn 1 was crowded and busy, but there was no contact.
“I went from first to last in that first corner, especially starting that close behind the 944 Spec field,” said Wilson Steele, who finished third on Saturday and Sunday. “There was the potential for going into Turn 1 and three people coming out instead of 40.”
Brown made the most of the start conditions and put a few PT cars between himself and Varco, who had been fighting radiator problems all morning. Not long into the race, a PT car went four-off in front of Brown and he too left the racing surface, which was all Varco needed to get by, but Brown wasn’t done fighting.
“I’d gap him. He’d gap me,” Brown said afterward. “I’d go off. He’d go off. I’d go off again. It was a crazy racing trying to deal with all the traffic from PTE, especially.”
Late in the race, as Brown was leading, he went four-off, letting Varco by once again. Varco went on to win.
“I was very concerned about the temperature because of the radiator, so that occupied some of my attention, but the race was good, generally,” Varco said. “Not the best race in the world, but it worked out to my advantage, but there were some quirky things that happened out there that weren’t great.”
For Sunday’s race, Varco again battled with Brown, who was leading late in the race when his car ran out of fuel due to a leak under the hood. With Brown out of the race, Varco took the lead and kept it till the end, with Becker taking his first podium in second and Steele again in third.
“I got third,” Steele said, “which is the best I’ve ever done and I brought home working equipment, which is always the high standard.”