SCC: Laguna Seca: Automatic Racing race notes

Automatic Racing's Hillestad and Waddell 6th at Laguna Seca; Team Prepares for Lime Rock MONTEREY, Calif.--Mark Hillestad and Barry Waddell scored their second top-ten in less than a month during Saturday's KONI Sports Car Challenge race at...

Automatic Racing's Hillestad and Waddell 6th at Laguna Seca; Team Prepares for Lime Rock

MONTEREY, Calif.--Mark Hillestad and Barry Waddell scored their second top-ten in less than a month during Saturday's KONI Sports Car Challenge race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The drivers of the No. 99 Automatic Racing/H&S Tool BMW M3 scored sixth place.

Hillestad, who first drove at Laguna Seca during a test two months ago, looked perfectly comfortable on the hilly road course as he achieved his best qualifying result so far this season.

Things only got better from there, as Hillestad and Waddell put the No. 99 Automatic/H&S Tool (www.handstool.net) M3 through its paces during the 2.5-hour race. Their sixth-place finish comes on the heels of a fourth, which they earned earlier this month at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

Needless to say, the two solid finishes give Hillestad and Waddell a lot of positive momentum heading into the third and final KONI Challenge race in May: this weekend's round at Lime Rock.

"Barry did great, and Joe (Varde) had a great strategy, as always," commented Hillestad. He noted that Lime Rock was the site of his first race 20 years ago. "Coming back after almost a decade away from motorsports, it's good we're racing again this weekend because we get right back in the car."

"At the end we were in the lead pack, and overall, the race was in line with our goals for this season," said Waddell, who is also anxious for another good result at Lime Rock. "It's really nice to race back-to-back weekends. We can carry the momentum of a good race at Laguna and get right back on track."

The race didn't go as planned for Charlie Putman and David Russell in the No. 91 Automatic Racing BMW M3. They were on pace to score a podium finish: with just 40 minutes left in the race, Russell was running second overall when broken wheel studs brought him to a stop on the track. He and Putman eventually finished 11th, a result that doesn't begin to reflect the talent and speed displayed by the team all weekend.

"It's a little disappointing, but I guess that's why they call it racing!" said Putman. Always optimistic, though, he is already looking anticipating a better result at Lime Rock. "We were seventh there last year, and I think we can do a lot better this year. I'm also looking forward to our annual team baseball game this weekend."

"I want to thank Charlie for the opportunity to sit in for Charles (Espenlaub) since he had a prior commitment this weekend," said Russell. "It was great to be back in the car again and competing for the win. The car was really fast and well setup right off the trailer, so the team made our job easy."

Fans who couldn't make it to Laguna Seca can catch Automatic Racing on SPEED during the race broadcast on Saturday, May 23, at noon.

Currently, the Automatic Racing transporter is trekking across the country from California to Connecticut for this weekend's KONI Challenge round at Lime Rock Park. The Grand Sport class race will be held on Monday's Memorial Day holiday, beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET.

-credit: ar

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Charlie Putman , Mark Hillestad , Barry Waddell , David Russell
Teams Automatic Racing