The pool of talent in GTS4 at the Eastern States Championships was deep. The field included past champions and podium finishers from previous Championships. William Vanjonack started from pole position, followed by Brain Ward and Edgar Cabrera, last year’s GTS3 Champion who finished eighth at the 2015 Mazda Race of NASA Champions.
At the start, which wasn’t waved green till late, Cabrera made a bold inside move passing the Vanjonack and Ward using the line through the Oil Dri and throwing a huge cloud of dust in the face of everyone behind him.
Vanjonack trailed Cabrera for a couple of laps, but eventually overtook him to take the lead, a position he would hold till the double-yellow on lap six. His gap erased, Vanjonack followed the pace car during the full-course caution followed by DJ Fitzpatrick and Cabrera.
When the race resumed, it was a four-lap sprint to the finish. Doggedly determined, Vanjonack held on for the win and the Championship, his first.
“It was just a hard-fought all weekend,” Vanjonack said. “I think we found some speed in the beginning of the weekend, and had some new cars come in the group later on and DJ behind me really pushed me here. I have to thank Bavarian Specialties and my dad and my family.”
As the last few laps progressed, Cabrera dropped back and off the podium. That meant DJ Fitzpatrick had taken over second place, after starting from dead last!
“Unluckily I had to change classes in the middle of the weekend. I did what I could,” Fitzpatrick said. “I finally got in the top three and the yellow came out. I was hoping for a bit more time. It went green again and I was slow off the start, and Edgar Cabrera came by me, and we fought a little bit, and first place got away. I finally got by Edgar and didn’t have enough time, but it was a great race.”
Once Fitzpatrick got past Cabrera, that left him to battle with Ed Baus, who started just one position ahead of Fitzpatrick in 17th. Baus went on to finish third.
“On Friday I cut a tire and Saturday I had an issue on the dyno, so I started way in the back,” Baus said. “I had a lot of fun running through the group. It was very challenging. Everybody did a great job holding their line, playing hard, but playing clean. It was awesome.”