SCC: Lime Rock: Automatic Racing race notes

Two Top-10 Finishes at Lime Rock for Automatic Racing; Putman and Espenlaub 4th LIME ROCK, Conn.--Automatic Racing wrapped up a series of three KONI Sports Car Challenge races this month on a high note, notching two top-10 finishes during...

Two Top-10 Finishes at Lime Rock for Automatic Racing; Putman and Espenlaub 4th

LIME ROCK, Conn.--Automatic Racing wrapped up a series of three KONI Sports Car Challenge races this month on a high note, notching two top-10 finishes during Monday's event at Lime Rock Park.

Charlie Putman and Charles Espenlaub drove the No. 91 Automatic Racing BMW M3 to a finish of fourth. Earlier this month, the duo earned their best finish with Automatic by taking sixth at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Now, just two races later, they have beaten their personal best once again.

"At this point we want to win, but we're happy with fourth," commented Putman. "The pit stops were just tremendous, the strategy was right on the money, and we drove well: our team really had it together this weekend. Hats off to the two teams ahead of us that we were battling with."

Mark Hillestad and Barry Waddell closed out this trio of May races with 10th, giving them three consecutive top-10 finishes. The No. 99 Automatic Racing/H&S Tool BMW M3 was fourth at New Jersey and sixth at Laguna Seca. Hillestad and Waddell are both returning to racing this season after a lengthy hiatus, but their consistent performances prove that they've had no trouble getting back into racing form.

The weekend went smoothly for Hillestad and Waddell until the race began to wind down, when things took a dramatic turn. Contact from a couple of cars--the result of hard racing for a top position--could have been disastrous, but nothing could stop the No. 99 Automatic/H&S Tool (www.handstool.net) entry.

"We left all the excitement for the end of the race," said Waddell. "We made headway in making the car faster, and this was probably the most competitive we've been all season. The crew did a great job; it just wasn't as clean of a race as the last two."

The Lime Rock race is always held on Memorial Day, and the team always celebrates the long weekend with the traditional Automatic Racing baseball game during Sunday's break in the action. This year, the teams had a brief intermission, taking shelter in the turn three corner station during a thunderstorm. The sky cleared and the game continued, with the game ending in a 9-9 tie.

Automatic Racing has one week before heading to New York for the KONI Challenge race at Watkins Glen.

-credit: ar

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