TOPEKA, Kan. (October 12, 2007) – Andrew Aquilante, of Chester Springs, Pa., earned his first-ever SCCA National Championship with a win in Touring 1 at the 44th SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented AT&T at Heartland Park Topeka. John Buttermore, of Pontiac, Mich., and Mike McGinley, of Overland Park, Kan., completed the top three.
It was the perfect end to a perfect Runoffs for 20 year-old Aquilante, who led every qualifying session, eventually taking the pole by nearly half a second, then leading the 18-lap race from start to finish to take his first-ever SCCA National Championship. Completing all 18-laps without incident, Aquilante’s No. 36 Chevrolet Corvette crossed the finish line 7.110 seconds ahead of No. 52 Corvette of John Buttermore.
“I think just about everything went according to plan, leading all four days of qualifying and leading flag-to-flag for victory,” Aquilante said. “It is what I had hoped and worked for all year. The first few laps I was pretty nervous, making sure I was hitting all my marks, then I kind of settled into a rhythm. John Heinricy came over the radio and told me that Lance Knupp was out and that kind of eased away some of the pressure. John [Buttermore] was behind me but he began to fade back and then I couldn’t see him in my mirrors coming out of the corners. That took the pressure away so I eased off and brought it home.”
After the No. 37 Corvette of Lance Knupp, from Fenton, Mich., dropped out of the race on lap two with ABS failure, McGinley’s No. 50 Corvette moved into the third spot, where he remained unchallenged throughout the race.
Phillip Croyle, of Boca Raton, Fla., and Michael Tracy, of Morton Grove, Ill., completed the top five, both in Chevrolet Corvettes. Russ Snow, of Eden, N.C., in the No. 20 Corvette was the Sunoco Hard Charger, advancing seven positions during the race.
The SCCA National Championship Runoffs® Presented by AT&T, The Pinnacle of American Motorsports, will crown Sports Car Club of America’s Club Racing National Champions for the 44th-consecutive year in 2007. The best amateur drivers from across North America convene on Heartland Park Topeka’s 2.5-mile road course each fall in what is considered the “Olympics” of motorsports. This year’s event begins with four days of qualifying, Oct. 8-11, and concludes with three days of racing, Oct. 12-14.