SCC: Birmingham: Automatic Racing preview

Automatic Racing Gets Fresh Start for Grand-Am Cup at Barber LEEDS, Ala. -- Automatic Racing is getting a fresh start to the remainder of the Grand-Am Cup season, beginning with this weekend's Barber 200 at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.

Automatic Racing Gets Fresh Start for Grand-Am Cup at Barber

LEEDS, Ala. -- Automatic Racing is getting a fresh start to the remainder of the Grand-Am Cup season, beginning with this weekend's Barber 200 at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. A month-long break between rounds allowed the team to freshen up the motors in the Grand Sport classed No. 09 and 90 BMW M3s, as well as sort out suspension and mechanical issues.

For Jep Thornton and David Russell, who drive the No. 09 BMW, there is no better place to start anew than at Barber. The pair drove to a finish of third there in 2003, matching the team's highest career finish. In 2004, Thornton paired up with substitute Nick Longhi, while Russell was at home with his new baby. The No. 09 was in third before a shift linkage problem dropped the team out of the race.

Now, with Thornton and Russell together again for the Barber round, and with a fresh motor in the BMW, they are looking forward to getting yet another podium finish.

"We're going into Barber with big expectations. We have gotten on the podium there before and were running in P3 last year before we broke so we feel good about our abilities there," said Thornton. "It is a great track for the BMW. We spent the month off doing some good development and have a fresh motor for the rest of the season. We're ready for the podium and to move up in the points."

Russell echoed Thornton's optimism about the weekend. "We should be back on track at Barber," he said. "We had some issues with the exhaust, since we didn't have a chance to test it on the dyno before Watkins Glen. We've got that sorted out now, we've found some more power and we've got a better setup. We should be right in the top five."

Dave Riddle and Kris Wilson will drive the No. 90 Automatic Racing BMW M3 for the first time at Barber, but the drivers are no strangers to the track. They drove together there last year, and they expect to score a strong finish with their combination of track knowledge and a fresh car.

With the points race getting closer and the season beginning to wind down, Automatic Racing is ready to step up to the challenge, and the podium.

The team will have a day of practice on Friday, July 29. Saturday will include qualifying at 11:35 a.m., followed by the 200-mile Barber 200 at 2:00 p.m.

Fans can keep up with Automatic Racing's championship chase at www.AutomaticRacing.com.

Automatic Racing is sponsored by Wachovia, Automatic LLC, LandAir, Engine Studios, Rogue Engineering, Lynch Imports, Moton Shocks and Fikse Wheels.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Nick Longhi , Jep Thornton , Dave Riddle , Kris Wilson , David Russell
Teams Automatic Racing