76 DECEMBER 2019 scca.com
Sunday afternoon’s racers faced unusual conditions. During
the GT-1 race, oil had been spread
across virtually every mile of the
track. By the time the cleanup
had concluded, and the GT-1 cars
performed their abbreviated sprint
to the checker, the schedule was
some 45 minutes behind. When
the next set of racers, Formula F,
took the track, it began to rain. The
next group up was Touring 1. So,
with 16 large, powerful racecars
on the grid ready to go out on
a potentially oily and wet track,
what could go wrong? The
answer: absolutely nothing. Well,
except for one unbelievable
game changer on the last lap.
Andrew Aquilante was very
fast throughout qualifying
and had put his Phoenix
Ford Mustang on the Tire Rack
pole. He was, in fact, 0.7sec
clear of Mark Boden on the grid,
and they were trailed by last
year’s class champion Kristofer
Olson and Tim Myers, who
holds the VIR T1 lap record.
The start was very wet, and
Myers decided to gamble and
start the race on drys but
moved himself to the back of
the pack off grid. That decision
left those in his row trying to
figure their starting position,
but Hugh Stewart got it right,
quickly positioning his Hi Speed
Motorsports BMW M3 in third.
“The start was a little
chaotic,” Stewart admitted.
“When we got the green, I was
just trying to pick spots where
Aquilante. “So, we kept pounding.
All of a sudden on the white
flag, things started to get rough.
I started flipping through the
gauges on the dash and realized
it was the engine. I tried to reset
it a few times, but it didn’t work.
I asked how big my gap was and
I thought we could hold on, so
I went flat out the entire way, but
just couldn’t hang on to first.”
By the time they reached
the Oak Tree turn, Boden had
his Fall-Line Motorsports BMW
M3 on Aquilante, passing soon
thereafter. At the finish, Boden
clinched the win over a slowing
Aquilante with some 19 seconds
to spare. Stewart was another
For Boden, this was his
second National Championship
(his first coming in 2009),
but interestingly, it completed
a podium’s worth of medals
(RIGHT) As predicted, T1 was a runaway – although no one saw this last lap
coming. Regardless, Mark Boden was happy to collect his second Runoffs title.
(BELOW) Andrew Aquilante started from the Tire Rack pole and looked to
have the race well in hand until a mechanical issue slowed him to a second-place crawl. (ABOVE) Hugh Stewart drove a clean race and picked up third.
I could see because the rain was
coming off the lead cars and
things were getting a bit hairy.”
Stewart may have gotten
third at the start with Boden
second, but Aquilante didn’t hang
around to find out. During the
race, Aquilante was fastest in all
three sectors of the track, set
the fastest race lap, and had the
highest trap speed. At the start of
the last lap, Boden was some 20
seconds back of Aquilante – and
that’s when everything changed.
“You can’t back off in these
types of conditions because you
lose your concentration,” said
RACE 27 | SUNDAY | OCT. 13, 2019 | 3:00 P.M.
BM W M3