Paradise Found! Gerardo clinches Championship!

Paradise Found! 

Gerardo clinches Championship!

Today at Mid-Ohio I was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. It was a chance to finally make good and finish what I've started and win an important drivers championship. The Skip Barber National Championship drivers were ready for battle. Here's how it went.

In the morning practice session the track turned out to be rather slick. These things happen, a little fog or mildew settles over the surface making the asphalt a bit of a skating rink. As our tires heated up, Matt Varsha went to the front of the timesheets in a big way. I drove my best and managed 2nd fastest time.

Later on we qualified for Round 13. The track was in better shape this time around, giving us more grip in all the scary turns. Matt Varsha once again set the pace by blazing to a 1:34.413. I was having a really tough time making my car stick, but I somehow pulled out a 1:34.458, only 0.045 second behind. Garrett Zine showed speed he had not had all weekend by turning a lap at 1:34.505, only five hundredths off my time. Points contenders Jordy Vorrath and Cole Nelson would qualify 4th and 5th respectively.

It was finally race time in the afternoon. At the green flag Varsha got a great start, allowing me to slot in right behind with nobody to my inside. In fact, I had a small opportunity to pass for the lead going into the first turn, but Matt denied that. It was not yet time.

We settled into a torrid pace with Matt Varsha leading, myself in second, Jordy Vorrath in 3rd, and Garrett Zine in 4th. Cole Nelson quickly made short work of Garrett, moving himself to 4th. The mind-numbing pace of Matt Varsha was such that I could not make any mistakes, or else lose even more track position to his speed. Jordy was right behind and I could not let him pass.

As the laps went on, Jordy began to fall back. Was this really happening? Before I knew it, Cole Nelson had demoted Jordy Vorrath to 4th. So it was now Varsha, me, Nelson as top 3. More laps went still at ludicrous speed, and it finally happened. Matt Varsha made a huge error in the 4th gear Turn 12 and nearly flew off the road. He held on, allowing me to catch right up to his gearbox. The bobble also allowed Nelson to tuck right behind the two of us up front. It was now or never to go for the lead, or risk Nelson demoting me.

As we went through Turn 3 on the next lap Matt made another error. How lucky was I!!! I had the run and made the pass for the lead into Turn 7. Varsha now had Cole Nelson to battle as I pulled away. Oh my, was this really happening? Was I really leading with Jordy Vorrath (2nd in points) at least as far back as 4th position?

More laps, more battling between Cole and Matt. They finally settled into Varsha 2nd, Nelson 3rd, and began to work to catch me. But it was too late. There was no way I was going to make any mistakes, and they had run out of time.

On the last lap it was all I could do to see straight. I couldn't feel the steering wheel anymore.
I forgot what gear to use in Turn 12. I yelled in my helmet to just drive whatever gear. I made it to the last turn, I had ignored the mirrors, and somehow, there was the checker flag. I had won my 4th race of the year!

As I came into the pits, I was pumped. My fists were in the air, I had unbuckled my belts and was half standing still pumping in the air. I stopped, the mechanics dumped gallons of freezing cold icy water on me, and it all blurred out as someone whispered in my ear after an eternity that Jordy had finished 5th. With that, I about collapsed because I knew then I was CHAMPION.

Big Thanks

Thanks to my Mom and Dad for bringing me up strong enough to be a race driver. Thank you to this year's investors, who without their support, I'd be without this opportunity. Thank you to my past investors who put me in this position to begin with. Thank you to Skip Barber Racing School for providing a venue to develop one's driving talents into greater abilities. Thank you to all my individual mentors. You have each taught me to be wise, strong, crafty, and fast. The list goes on and on, and I will thank everyone again.

Results below, as well as a link to Rick Roso's posting on HERE

Again, we will race once more tomorrow for Round 14. It will be a nice way to close a really great year.

Take care,


Round 13 of 14, September 6, 2005, Skip Barber National Championship Presented by RACER
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, 15-turn, 2.4-mile (no chicane) road course

Start position in parentheses
1. (2)
Gerardo Bonilla, Orlando, Fla., 17.5 laps, 87.410 mph winning average speed
2. (1) Matt Varsha, Atlanta, Ga., 17.5 laps
3. (5) Cole Nelson, Atwater, Calif., 17.5
4. (3) Garrett Zine, Rio Linda, Calif., 17.5
5. (4) Jordy Vorrath, White Rock, B.C., Canada, 17.5
6. (6) Paul Albert, Ottawa, Ont., Canada, 17.5
7. (10) Kyle Lawrence, Port Huron, Mich., 17.5
8. (7) Andy Rossetto, Grafton, Wis., 17.5
9. (9) Richard Heistand, Sunny Isles, Fla., 17.5
10. (8) Jonathan Goring, Norfolk, Conn., 17.5
11. (11) Winston de Wardt, Steamboat Springs, Colo., 17.5
12. (12) Logan Gomez, Brazil, 17.5
13. (13) Jimmy Holden, Tiona, Pa., 17.5

© Gerardo Bonilla 2015