Subaru Road Racing Team Drivers Second in Points - Aquilante Maneuvers Forward from Last to as High as Third - The Subaru Road Racing Team, along with its drivers Andrew Aquilante and Kristian Skavnes, left the New Jersey Motorsports ...
Subaru Road Racing Team Drivers Second in Points
- Aquilante Maneuvers Forward from Last to as High as Third -
The Subaru Road Racing Team, along with its drivers Andrew Aquilante and Kristian Skavnes, left the New Jersey Motorsports Park's Thunderbolt Raceway circuit with a firm grip on third place in the Manufacturer points and second place in the Driver Championship points.
Aquilante, Chester Springs, Pa., and co-driver Skavnes, Sparta, N.J., drove the SRRT Phoenix #111 Subaru Legacy 2.5GT spec.B sedan to a sixth place finish in the 2h30m race.
Aquilante's qualifying time was second quickest, only 4/100ths of a second off the pole, earning him his third consecutive front row start in three races this season. He started the race 25th in the Street Tuner class, however, after officials from the Grand American Road Racing Assn., discovered a technical issue with the car.
"The left front wheel's camber setting was out-of-spec because a shock absorber and wheel had become bent," said the 21-year old racer. "In a way, it was the most fun I've ever had in a race car. It forced me to drive as carefully as I've ever done, trying to work my way past the slower cars, being smooth, consistent, and avoiding contact with anybody."
With many faster-than-qualifying lap speeds, it took very few laps for Aquilante to get back into the top ten. He passed eight cars on the race's first lap, three more on the second lap, then a car-per-lap for a number of laps. On lap 31, while running third, he established the team's fastest race lap, an 86.349mph average, better than his 86.136mph qualifying lap.
He'd reached the top three on lap 38 when a mishap on the track caused the safety car to be dispatched, allowing a golden opportunity for teams to head into the pits for fuel and change-out drivers if they so desired.
SRRT driver Kris Skavnes was buckled into the Subaru and found himself mired in ninth place upon departing pit lane. By lap 52, Skavnes was in fourth place, 11 seconds away from the class lead.
"We brought in Andy during a safety car session," noted Joe Aquilante, who owns the Phoenixville, Pa.-based SRRT Phoenix outfit which prepares the team's Subaru Legacy 2.5GT spec.B race car and serves as factory race partner for Subaru of America, Inc.
"That happened on lap 37, and we brought him in one lap later. Had that occurred at any time past lap 50, we'd have been in better shape because we can only race for one hour and eight minutes on a tank of gas.
"On lap 83, with 14 to go, we had to bring in Kristian for a splash of gas. Either that or risk him running out of gas. That dropped him to ninth, but he ran some of his best laps of the race and scrambled back to sixth, where we finished," Aquilante said.
Skavnes and Aquilante are second among 83 drivers in the series Driver Championship points, while Subaru is third among eight manufacturers competing in the Street Tuner class.
Subaru of America, Inc., which has its headquarters in nearby Cherry Hill, N.J., and provides the Official Pace Cars for the race track, entertained a large number of corporate employees and local Subaru owners over the race weekend.
"Having a race in close proximity to our corporate offices is a great bonus," said James Han, Motorsports Marketing Manager for Subaru of America, "so creating a hospitality opportunity for our associates and local Subaru owners was an easy choice. It was great to have folks so passionate about the Subaru brand come by, ask questions, kick tires and get to meet the team members and cars that they follow so closely during our race season."
The race was taped by SPEED TV for broadcast Saturday at 12 Noon ET.