SCC: Homestead: Automatic Racing preview

Automatic Racing debuts second BMW M3 at Miami 250. HOMESTEAD, Fla.- Automatic Racing will debut its new BMW E46 M3 at this weekend's Miami 250 at Homestead-Miami Raceway as the team fields a two-car effort for the first time in the Grand-Am Cup...

Automatic Racing debuts second BMW M3 at Miami 250.

HOMESTEAD, Fla.- Automatic Racing will debut its new BMW E46 M3 at this weekend's Miami 250 at Homestead-Miami Raceway as the team fields a two-car effort for the first time in the Grand-Am Cup Series.

Jep Thornton and David Russell will drive the No. 09 BMW M3. The pair earned second place in the Grand Sports II (GSII) class in the season opener at Daytona, and they hope to be on the podium again with the well-developed E36.

Terry Earwood and Eric Van Cleef are teaming up to co-drive the second Automatic Racing entry, the fresh No. 90 E46 BMW M3, which will also run in Grand Sports II.

Earwood and Van Cleef tested with Automatic Racing at Barber Motorsports Park last month. The two veteran drivers have been friends for over a decade and have often competed against each other, but this is the first time they have had the opportunity to be co-drivers.

Earwood has been racing professionally since 1972, when he got his start in drag racing. By his second year, Earwood was already the U.S. Nationals Super Stock Champion. In 1996, Earwood won the IMSA National Touring Championship. He also has the honor of holding the most wins in IMSA Endurance Racing, which is now Grand-Am Cup. With over 30 victories in the series, Earwood has proven that he is one of the top drivers in endurance street stock competition.

Since 1989, Earwood has been the Chief Instructor for the Skip Barber Racing School. He resides in Deland, Fla.

Van Cleef began racing karts in 1979. He moved into sports car racing six years later, when he began competing in SCCA Nationals. He was the Showroom Stock C National Champion in 1991, and still competes in SCCA events on occasion. Van Cleef began racing the IMSA Endurance Series in 1996, when he won the Sports Class championship.

For the past three years, Van Cleef has been the development driver for Toyota's first venture into NASCAR, racing in the Goody's Dash series. He earned a number of top 10 finishes, but is looking forward to his return to roadracing. Van Cleef, who lives in Huntsville, Ala., is also an instructor with the Skip Barber Racing School.

GSII qualifying for the Miami 250 will be held on Saturday, April 12, at 4:10 pm. The race, which will feature all four classes of the Grand-Am Series, gets the green flag at 12:30 pm on Sunday, April 13.

Automatic Racing is sponsored by Automatic Commercial Aircraft, BBS, LandAir and Engine Music Studios.

More information about Automatic Racing, including qualifying and race updates and audio quotes from the drivers, can be found on the team's website at www.AutomaticRacing.com.

-ar-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Skip Barber , Jep Thornton , Terry Earwood , David Russell
Teams Automatic Racing