,WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- John Buttermore won the featured Touring 1 class in the Sports Car Club of America National Championship points race Sunday at Watkins Glen International, driving a thundering Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
The car was one of 11 cars competing at The Glen built or maintained by Phoenix Performance, Inc., of Phoenixville, Pa.
"It was crazy out there," said Buttermore, a General Motors engineer from Pontiac, Mich., noting the challenge of racing on the famed 3.4-mile road course in monsoon-like weather conditions, "but we had good Hoosier rain tires on the Corvette and that made the difference."
Buttermore's chief rival and current SCCA National Champion in the class, 21-year-old Andrew Aquilante of Chester Springs, Pa., qualified his Corvette on the pole and led the first four laps, then let Buttermore by and pulled into the pits, noting this was not the day to risk the valuable race car, and reluctantly accepted a sixth-place finish. Race officials prematurely ended the race on lap seven due to the weather conditions -- the corner flagging stations were unable to see the race cars, and vice-versa.
The local team's cars also finished second and third in the Touring 1 class. Ohioan David Pintaric was second with his Dodge Viper, recovering from a first lap spin, and Cliff Murray of Chester Springs, Pa., was third in another Corvette. David Sanders of Exton, Pa., was fifth in his Corvette.
"Any time my customers can fill a winner's circle podium, that's a good day for the whole Phoenix Performance team," Joe Aquilante beamed. He finished third in the T-3 class with a Chevrolet Cobalt.
The skies again let loose prior to the American Sedan race, which included American Sedan drivers Evan Kesselman and 11-time SCCA National Champion John Heinricy, both in Phoenix Performance-built Pontiac Firebirds. Kesselman, an ex-New Jersey State Trooper, now living in Phoenix, Ariz., moved from ninth to third. "Before the race, Kurt Omensetter, my crew chief from Phoenix Performance, made the very insightful call for me to use 'intermediate' tread Hoosier tires, and that made the difference," said Kesselman.
Heinricy, of Royal Oak, Mich., went from 16th on the starting grid to fourth at the end.
"All-in-all, a very good weekend for the Phoenix Performance team," concluded Joe Aquilante.
Located in Phoenixville, Pa, Phoenix Performance is owned by Joe Aquilante. Based in a 32,000-sq.-ft. race shop 35 miles west of downtown Philadelphia. Phoenix Performance-prepared cars have won 18 SCCA National Championships since 1999, including three wins per year for the past four years, two professional series Manufacturer Championship, and the GM Motorsports Winner's Circle Award. For more information, call 610-482-0141 or visit www.phoenixperformaceinc.com and www.phoenixperformance.net.