SCC: Daytona: Automatic Racing race notes

Automatic Racing finishes sixth in opening round at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.- Automatic Racing finished sixth overall in the Daytona 250, the opening round of the Grand-Am Cup season that was held on Friday, January 30, at Daytona...

Automatic Racing finishes sixth in opening round at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.- Automatic Racing finished sixth overall in the Daytona 250, the opening round of the Grand-Am Cup season that was held on Friday, January 30, at Daytona International Raceway.

Jep Thornton and David Russell drove the No. 09 Automatic Racing BMW M3 in the 250-mile class. The team is competing in the new Grand Sports class, which is the premier class in the series.

Thornton started the race from the seventh spot on the starting grid. On his fourth lap, Thornton set the team's fastest lap of the day, a 2:08.057. As his stint wore on, Thornton got into an exciting battle for eighth with the Unitech Racing Nissan that lasted until Thornton pitted at the end of his stint.

"We had a good start. The car felt really good," reflected Thornton. "The tires were giving out there at the end pretty good. I used all of the gas. Unfortunately, we didn't get a caution so we had to come in on green. All in all, I made one little mistake where I let the Nissan pass me, but I was right there with him most of the time."

Russell got into the bright yellow BMW and quickly found himself in fifth place overall. A short time later, the only full-course caution of the race came out and teams that had not yet pitted benefited from it. Once the teams had all made their stops, Automatic Racing was in tenth.

Russell pitted at the end of the second hour for two new tires and fuel, then headed back onto the track. With the fresh tires, he was able to work his way up to sixth before the checkered flag flew.

"We're pretty happy with the result," commented Russell. "Our goal was a top five, but all things considered, I guess we were second among the guys that had to stop twice for fuel. The Porsches, unfortunately, even with the same tank size, are able to go significantly longer than we can go on fuel. And of course the caution fell right in their range. We had to do it all under green. The team did a great job. The car was awesome. Mike (McLaughlin) spent a lot of time in the shop and it really shows with how quick the car went and how consistent it is."

The next race for Automatic Racing will be a 250-mile race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 27.

News and quotes from Thornton and Russell can be found on the team's website, www.AutomaticRacing.com.

Automatic Racing is sponsored by Automatic Commercial Aircraft, LandAir, BBS, Engine Music Studios, Redline Oil and Moton Shocks.

-ar-

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