INDIANAPOLIS – James Jost prevailed in an entertaining American Sedan main event Saturday morning during the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Jost, along with Amy Aquilante, outclassed the 31-car field as the Philadelphia-area natives dueled for the gold medal.
Aquilante gave Jost all he could handle in a race that was decided by .771 seconds.
“I started here at Indianapolis … 2017 was my first Runoffs,” Jost said. “To come back and win is just awesome. We had a great time out there. Amy was tough to get around and we finally bumped a little bit. We kept it together and once we got around, I tried to not look in my mirror because she was right there on the bumper the whole race.
“It was fun,” he added. “I couldn’t breathe the last four or five laps because I was hyperventilating.”
Gregory Eaton led the first six laps from his outside row starting spot. Aquilante led the following four laps before Jost took control on lap 10.
It marks Jost’s first SCCA National Championship and the completion of the SCCA Super Sweep: a Runoffs triumph, a Hoosier Super Tour point title, and a U.S. Majors Tour Conference championship, all in the same class and season.
Aquilante, meanwhile, gladly took a runner-up finish.
“It feels amazing, and I can’t believe I get to be on the podium at Indy,” Aquilante said. “There are three Northeast division guys up here and I raced them all year, so I knew what to expect. I was ready.
“Jost and I had a great battle,” she added. “He got into me a little, I got into him a little, but we both kept going. I thought, ‘Let’s go!’ It was really fun. He drove an awesome race and really kept his tires under him.”
For Eaton, the two-time National Champion, this was the first time he finished on the podium at the Runoffs without winning.
“I was hoping those two might tangle and give me a little help,” he admitted. “But Jimmy and Amy had a bit more pace today. Although I’m disappointed, I’m really happy for them.”
Andrew McDermid finished fourth in a Ford Mustang, while 16-time SCCA National Champion John Heinricy took fifth-place in a Pontiac Firebird. Kelly Lubash claimed hard-charger honors by driving from the 24th-starting spot to a 14th-place finish.