SCC: Daytona: Automatic Racing preview

New season, new class and new challenges for Automatic Racing. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.- On Friday, January 30, Automatic Racing will begin their assault on the 2004 Grand Sports (GS) championship as the Grand-Am Cup Series has its opening event at...

New season, new class and new challenges for Automatic Racing.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.- On Friday, January 30, Automatic Racing will begin their assault on the 2004 Grand Sports (GS) championship as the Grand-Am Cup Series has its opening event at Daytona International Raceway.

Jep Thornton and David Russell will pilot the yellow-liveried No. 09 E46 M3 in the 250-mile event around Daytona's 3.56-mile road course.

2004 marks Automatic Racing's second full season of competition in Grand-Am Cup. During the opening round in 2003, Thornton and Russell drove to a finish of second in the Grand Sports II class, which is now GS, the premier class in the series.

"This is my third season, and my second full year in the series," commented Thornton. "The car was new last year, so we spent it in development. It's pretty well sorted out. The car is in great shape. It's got a new motor and better brakes now. We were able to spend three good days testing at Daytona in January and we're ready for the season."

Daytona has an added significance for Automatic Racing because it is their home track. The team's race shop, which is run under the direction of team manager Mike McLaughlin, is located in nearby Orlando, Fla.

"It's going to be fun," said Thornton of the race.  "There are 27 cars
entered in GS and we're the main event.  We got second last year, and we
have the strategy pretty well nailed down for this track.  We've got a new
paint job, and we're looking forward to showing that off.  We're very
excited.  Last year we accomplished a lot.  We got the pole at Mosport and
three podiums.  So we're looking forward to what we can do this season."

"We learned a lot from testing at Daytona earlier this month, using our data acquisition," said Russell. "Our strategy is changing this year because we' re the premier class. John Terry, our crew chief, is our strategist and he will be a great asset to us. I'm looking forward to the challenges of 2004."

Qualifying for the Daytona 250 will be held on Thursday, January 29, from 4:45-5:00 pm EST. The race will get underway on Friday, January 30, at 1:00 pm EST. Fans can keep track of Automatic Racing's week at Daytona through their website, www.AutomaticRacing.com.

-ar-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Mike McLaughlin , Jep Thornton , David Russell
Teams Automatic Racing