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Millville: Phoenix Performance race report

Aquilante "Shows" Subaru Impreza WRX in Exciting SCCA World Challenge Race Millville, NJ -- May 2, 2009 - They call the third place finisher in today's Kentucky Derby the "show" position, and a show is exactly what Chester Springs, Pa., road ...

Aquilante "Shows" Subaru Impreza WRX in Exciting SCCA World Challenge Race

Millville, NJ -- May 2, 2009 - They call the third place finisher in today's Kentucky Derby the "show" position, and a show is exactly what Chester Springs, Pa., road racer Andrew Aquilante put on today to finish third in the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car race on Thunderbolt Raceway at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

Aquilante's climb from eighth at the drop of the green flag to third when the checkers flew, earning him the Sunoco Hard Charger award, was much-aided by his mount, the 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX.

In early February, Phoenix Performance began preparing the Subaru Impreza WRX to a new rules package created by SCCA Pro Racing for entrants of production-based cars, making provisions for nearly showroom stock units, such as the Subaru, to compete with highly-modified cars which have been a hallmark of the series.

For the final seven laps of the race, Aquilante and his all-wheel drive Subaru performance sedan hounded the similarly-prepared Acura TSX of Peter Cunningham, the five-time series champion. On lap 25 of 28, Andrew momentarily drew ahead of Cunningham as the pair raced side-by-side down the main straight, but Cunningham never gave up the line into the first turn.

Aquilante, the SCCA's 2007 Touring 1 class National Champion and winner of the Club's highest honor -- the President's Cup -- set the fastest lap of the race on lap seven with a 87.976mph lap around the winding, 2.25-mile circuit, a speed which no other driver exceeded until lap 20.

"Subaru's All-Wheel Drive System is really great for the standing start of the race. You can't get that wrong unless you stall the car, so we picked up some spots there," he said. "The first few laps were very intense with everybody trying to fight for the same piece of turf and not damage your car doing it.

"Peter and I had a great race for second place at the end. I had a few opportunities to complete the pass on him, but the risk factors were high and we ran out of time. For only our second race with the Impreza, we're really happy with how the program has fallen into place, and with the results we've achieved."

Joe Aquilante, whose company, Phoenix Performance, prepared the Subaru Impreza WRX, noted, "For only our second race, this was a delightful and extremely rewarding result, especially with all our friends from Subaru of America's corporate offices here to watch. Our next race will in July at Watkins Glen. In the meantime, we'll identify areas of the car which we feel need 'massaged,' and work on that.

-credit: pp

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Series PWC
Drivers Peter Cunningham , Joe Aquilante , Andrew Aquilante