Automatic Racing hangs onto 6th in GS points at Laguna MONTEREY, Calif. -- After a wild final two laps, the No. 09 Automatic Racing BMW finished 14th in last Saturday's Grand-Am Cup 200 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The team of Jep Thornton...
Automatic Racing hangs onto 6th in GS points at Laguna
MONTEREY, Calif. -- After a wild final two laps, the No. 09 Automatic Racing BMW finished 14th in last Saturday's Grand-Am Cup 200 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The team of Jep Thornton and David Russell ran as high as second, and came away from the weekend with their sixth-place championship standing still intact.
Thornton qualified the No. 09 BMW, posting the eighth-quickest time out of the huge 46-car Grand Sports class field. He started the race, but had some shifting troubles that gave him a challenge.
"I had a problem on the start because I couldn't get into third gear on the first lap and I got passed by a couple of guys. I picked up some positions later on," explained Thornton.
Thornton brought the car in for a routine pit stop at the one-hour mark while running in ninth overall, handing the car over to Russell. Thanks to the combination of solid pit strategy by crew chief John Terry and a few cautions, Russell was able to make it to the checkered flag without pitting again.
Russell worked his way up to second overall, which he held for a while before being passed by the eventual podium finishers. He held down a solid fourth place until two laps to go, when he was bumped by another M3. Russell got a punctured tire and was forced to pit, re-entering the track on the white-flag lap. He was able to hold on to a 14th-place finish.
"On all of the restarts we would hold our own and then start to pull away. I was getting held up a bit in some corners; otherwise I think we could have gotten on the podium," said Russell, who was racing at Laguna Seca for the first time in his career. "I think we missed our setup a bit since the track was new for us and the car, but it ran well and Jep did a great job qualifying."
The No. 90 Automatic Racing BMW M3 of Dave Riddle and Kris Wilson had an impressive run before a broken differential bolt brought them into the pits late in the race. Riddle started the race after qualifying 17th, and he worked his way up to 11th overall before pitting.
The Automatic BMWs will return to the team's shop in Winter Park, Florida after being in California for the past month. The next round for Automatic Racing will be round five of the Grand-Am Cup season, a 200-mile event at Watkins Glen on Saturday, June 10.
Automatic Racing is sponsored by Automatic LLC, LandAir, Engine Studios, Rogue Engineering, Lynch Imports, Moton Shocks and Fikse Wheels.
Fans can keep up with Automatic Racing at www.AutomaticRacing.com.