Subaru Road Racing Team Starts/Finishes 12th at Watkins Glen Sweat-Fest
– Drivers run qualifying lap speeds during 2 ½-hour race –
Phoenixville, PA. – June 30, 2012 – On a blazing, cloudless Summer day, the likes of which would cause a Gila Monster to seek shade, the world-famous Watkins Glen International road racing course near Watkins Glen, N.Y., took its toll on race cars and their drivers in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series.
Refusing, however, to succumb to a scorching sun that had the Devil himself smirking, the Subaru Road Racing Team’s pit crew and drivers Andrew “A. J.” Aquilante and Bret Spaude, qualified their #35 Subaru WRX STi race car 12th quickest in a field of 29 Grand Sports class competitors, and finished the 2 ½-hour race in 12th.
“There must have been a decree that we would be the 12th place car this weekend,” conceded Joe Aquilante, owner of Phoenix Performance in Phoenixville, Pa., which prepares the team’s Subaru WRX STi race cars. “We’ve done better than that this season, and we’ve done worse.
“A. J. and Bret drove smart, our enthusiastic pit crew got them in and out quickly, and that was the best we could do. GRAND-AM made an re-adjustment to our Subaru’s turbocharger boost pressure, which they had allowed us the last couple races, and which is their prerogative. Twelfth quickest isn’t where we’d like to be, but in a 29-car class, we’re still a contender.”
Spaude, of Bushnell, Fla., qualified the car at The Glen and raced the first 34 minutes before pitting for gas and tires, and slotting “AJ” Aquilante, of Chester Springs, Pa., into the seat for the cockpit for the final 44 laps.
Two subsequent, efficient pit stops by the SRRT crew brought AJ to as high as second place on laps 38 and 39, before his final stop dropped him to 18th. Picking up four positions between laps 56 and 58, he worked his way back to 12th, where the team had started the race.
“Other cars caused seven full-course yellow situations that ate up 22 laps that we could have been racing. That didn’t help our progress today, but we had a trouble-free Subaru to race, a much-appreciated veteran crew, and did as best we could with our new rules parameters,” said Joe Aquilante.
The race-prepped #35 SRRT WRX STI is developed to compete against rival teams fielding cars producing over 400 horsepower.