SCC: Homestead: Automatic Racing preview

Automatic Racing Gets on Track with Fresh from Florida at Homestead HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Automatic Racing heads into round two of the KONI Challenge Series this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, a track where the team has had plenty of success...

Automatic Racing Gets on Track with Fresh from Florida at Homestead

HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Automatic Racing heads into round two of the KONI Challenge Series this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, a track where the team has had plenty of success in previous seasons. The team will be aiming for the podium with the Fresh from Florida BMW M3s in one of Florida's most vibrant agricultural areas.

The KONI Challenge Series has visited Homestead twice since Automatic Racing joined the series in 2002. Both times, Automatic drivers stood on the podium after earning third-place finishes.

Jep Thornton and Jeff Segal will share the No. 09 Automatic Racing/Fresh from Florida BMW M3, which stands out with its grapefruit pink color scheme. In addition to its significance as a local race for Fresh from Florida, Homestead is also Segal's home track. The University of Miami student will have the chance to sleep in his own bed every night.

Thornton and Segal finished fifth during the season opener at Daytona in January, and Segal is confident about Homestead, where he earned a Ferarri Challenge win in 2003. "Jep's a lot of fun to work with and he's a good driver," he says. "There's no hassle; everything just seems to work, from our setup to pit stops. Jep's been on the podium at Homestead, and I've got a lot of laps in a lot of cars there."

The No. 99 Automatic Racing/Fresh from Florida BMW M3 will be co-driven by David Russell and Tom Long. This weekend marks Long's first visit to Homestead, but he's encouraged by Automatic's prior success there. "David will be able to help me a lot, as will (Team Manager) Joe Varde. Automatic has a great history there, so the setup should be spot on from the start," says Long. "I think it's exciting to be going to Florida again with the Fresh from Florida M3. We look forward to getting a top finish for the local farmers who will be there to cheer us on."

Jon Miller and Owen Trinkler will complete the Automatic Racing lineup in the No. 90 Automatic Racing M3, which is sponsored by Weeden Consultants. "I'm excited to get back on track and to get another race under my belt," says Miller, whose race at Daytona ended early. "Owen and I are optimistic because the track suits our car well and he's gotten good results there. This will be my first time at Homestead, but it's part of what being a young driver is about -- getting to know these tracks this year."

Miller grew up in nearby Key Largo before heading to college in Orlando, so he will be staying with his parents during the race weekend and doing some scuba diving in his spare time.

Tim George, Jr. and Pete Argetsinger are once again teaming up in the No. 91 Automatic BMW M3. George graduated from the University of Miami, and he will have friends and family at the track to cheer him on.

-credit: ar

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Tom Long , Jep Thornton , Owen Trinkler , Jeff Segal , Joe Varde , Jon Miller , David Russell
Teams Automatic Racing