SCC: Birmingham: Jeff Segal preview

Segal moves Fresh From Florida BMW up to KONI Challenge points lead ahead of Barber round Segal riding wave of speed, consistency, and podium finishes into Alabama (Birmingham, AL )17 July 07--Fresh From Florida racer Jeff Segal moved to the ...

Segal moves Fresh From Florida BMW up to KONI Challenge points lead ahead of Barber round
Segal riding wave of speed, consistency, and podium finishes into Alabama

(Birmingham, AL )17 July 07--Fresh From Florida racer Jeff Segal moved to the Grand-Am KONI Challenge GS Class points lead after taking a hard-fought second place result in the Supercuts 200 at Watkins Glen. The young racer will look to extend his run of podium finishes with co-driver Jep Thornton this weekend as the KONI Series heads south to Barber Motorsports Park outside of Birmingham, Alabama.

Segal finished less than half a second behind the Watkins Glen winner, setting his fastest lap of the race on the very last lap in an effort that fell just a few feet short of victory. But the podium result, the third in a row and fourth of the season for Segal and Thornton, helped to catapult the two atop the KONI Challenge GS Class driver championship points standings after eight of twelve races.

"We were looking for the win at the Glen, but at least we left with the points lead," said Segal. "The Fresh From Florida car was great, and the effort from (car chief) John Terry and (crew chief) Joe Varde and all the guys at Automatic Racing has just been amazing. The KONI Series is really competitive, and you've got to have fast cars that can also make it to the finish. We've had that every weekend, and obviously that's been key to getting the points."

Segal's speed at Watkins Glen was no surprise, particularly to those who watched his breakthrough qualifying performance for the Rolex Sports Car Series 6 Hour event in June, where he scored fifth on the GT class grid despite only getting one fast lap to set a time.

That Segal and Thorton have moved to the top of the GS standings is even more remarkable given the fiercely competitive KONI season that 2007 has shaped up to be, with six different driver combinations taking wins so far this season. And it's not just a field of strong race cars that are doing battle, as the GS races have also attracted a lot of participation from Rolex GT class and Daytona Prototype drivers.

And Segal welcomes the competition.

"These are guys that I hope to be racing on a regular basis in the future, so the more experience I get racing with them, the more that will pay off down the line no matter what I am driving," said Segal.

The strong KONI run is providing a solid foundation for his continued progression in the sport, as the Philadelphia-area native keeps a keen eye on the future and opportunities in the Daytona Prototype and GT class ranks.

He has certainly made the most of his GT experience so far this season, opening with a seventh place finish in the Rolex 24 At Daytona before being asked to re-join the SpeedSource team for another GT-class run in the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen, where he was part of another top-ten effort after his remarkable qualifying effort. Segal is slated to re-join the GT ranks for the Rolex Series season-ending event at Miller Motorsports Park.

While Segal is pleased with the upward mobility he and Thornton have shown both on the track and in the points, this young racer has plenty of experience and he knows things can change very quickly.

"It's great to be where we are in the points, but we aren't getting ahead of ourselves yet," said Segal. "We just have to keep these finishes coming. It is great to be on top of the standings at this point, but what matters is where we are at the end of the season. There is a lot of racing left to do yet."

Segal will get back to work this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, a track that saw him score a podium in KONI competition last year co-driving with Terry Borcheller.

-credit: SGM/Segal

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Terry Borcheller , Jep Thornton , Jeff Segal
Teams Automatic Racing , SpeedSource