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Phoenix Performance Mustangs Win Opener at Sebring

JAN. 09, 2013
The Phoenix Performance Mustangs traveled to Sebring Florida recently for the 2013 inaugural SCCA Majors race event and continued their winning ways that began at the SCCA national runoffs in September.
Driving a Mustang for the first time, Al Nocerine, of Wilkes Barre, Pa., stepped into the Phoenix Performance Touring 2 class Mustang GT and quickly found the pace, qualifying on the pole for both the Saturday and Sunday races.  At the start of each race, Nocerine pulled away and established himself in front, setting new lap records each day.
“This is the first time I have driven a Mustang in competition, and it was great.  Handling and brakes were perfect, especially at a tough fast track like Sebring” Nocerine noted. “The power of the engine is just phenomenal and on the long straights it pulled like a freight train.  Ford has done an outstanding job developing this car and Phoenix had it set up perfect for me.”
Nocerine, a 10-year veteran of SCCA national Club racing previously had driven Chevrolet Camaros. So how did he compare the Mustang GT to the Chevy?  “It’s night and day. The Ford is powerful and poised in just about every situation,” Nocerine said. “It handles the rough surfaces at Sebring with no drama and is a dream to drive.”
On Sunday, Nocerine was joined in the race by team owner Joe Aquilante in the team’s Touring 1 class Boss 302 Mustang. Starting from dead last due to missing qualifying while at GRAND-AM test days at Daytona, Aquilante quickly moved to the front of the T-1 class by the end of the first lap and never looked back.
“This was my first race driving a Mustang and the first time driving a Boss 302” Aquilante said. “It was a blast to drive and easy to work through traffic. This car is balanced with the Ford racing suspension and the engine pulls smooth and powerful all the way to redline. The brakes are outstanding. What a car.”

Next up for the team is a double national at Palm Beach International Raceway on Jan. 12 and 13.  Both Nocerine and Aquilante will be competing there also in their Mustangs in Touring 1 and Touring 2.

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Aquilante Dominant in January Testing

Andrew on Track in Daytona

Andrew AquilanteAndrew Aquilante proved he doesn’t need a wet race track to set the quickest lap of the GS field, leading Saturday’s final Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge practice session.

In ST, it was 2005 Rolex 24 winner Terry Borcheller at the top of the charts.After setting a fast time early, Aquliante’s No. 35 Subaru Road Racing Team Subaru WRX-STI was briefly demoted by Bill Auberlen in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3, but then put down a 1:57.486 (109.085 mph), which held to the end of the one-hour session. Auberlen’s time, a scant 0.002-second behind Aquilante, kept him in second. David Empringham was third in the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage with a lap of 1:57.966 (108.641 mph).

Borcheller put the No. 23 Burton Racing BMW 328i at the head of the ST class. The 2003 Rolex DP champion entered a hot lap of 2:07.043 (100.879 mph), 0.247-second ahead of Andrew Jordan in the No. 77 Compass 360 Racing Honda Civic Si. Jordan snuck his fast lap in the closing seconds of the session, bumping Ryan Ellis in the No. 30 i-Moto Mazda Speed 3 to third in ST with a 2:07.418 (100.582 mph).

The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge takes the track for more testing Sunday at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. ET. Live timing is available on grand-am.com.

For the full practice racap visit here.

Andrew Aquilante

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