ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Andrew Aquilante, a Phoenixville native and Chester Springs resident, dominated the Touring 1 National title race at the 50th Sports Car Club of America National Championship Runoffs at Road America for his second victory of the weekend. Jerry Onks, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Michael Pettiford, of Louisville, Colo., completed the podium.
Aquilante started from the SafeRacer pole position in the No. 36 Phoenix Performance/Hoosier/Hawk Chevrolet Corvette and dropped to second heading into Turn One. Eight corners later, Aquilante passed Preston Calvert, of Potomac, Md., for the lead and never looked back. Aquilante weathered the race’s three-lap caution to win by 34.182 seconds, at an average speed of 83.542 mph. En route to the win, Aquilante turned the Hawk Hot Lap with a 2:15.216 (106.496 mph).
“We knew on the race start, just like in GT-2, that we were going to be a little bit outgunned down the straight away,” Aquilante said. “Preston and I jumped on the power about the same time, and I knew he was going to walk me. I was pretty nervous about David and the Viper back there, as well, so I kept close to the inside to take that option away from him. The first half lap went pretty much exactly to plan. There wasn’t much I was going to do down in Turn Five with him, and so when I got him in the carousel, that’s where I expected to do it.
“I was really nervous on the restart, because I figured David could get a really big run. I knew from yesterday they through the green a lot earlier. Again, I made him go to the outside, held Turn One, and cleared off. ”
While Aquilante won his first T1 National title in 2007 at Heartland Park, his GT2 Championship Friday and his T1 win Saturday have more importance to him than his 2007 feat. Aquilante believes these two wins are more special because he won them at the 50th SCCA Runoffs.
“With the 50th anniversary of the Runoffs here, we looked at that and used the past National Championship provision to run GT-2,” Aquilante said. “To win that, and win T1, it’s a great honor. To win it at the 50th here at Road America, probably one of the most prestigious road courses in America, and what SCCA has done for the 50th to make it a special event again. I would have liked to have been the only one to win two, but Lawrence (Loshak) won two (Friday). They just made the event awesome, and it’s a great feeling to have won.”