SCC: Mid-Ohio: Automatic Racing preview

Mosport Podium Gives Automatic Racing's Segal and Thornton Momentum for Mid-Ohio BOWMANVILLE, Ontario -- Automatic Racing's Jep Thornton and Jeff Segal drove to their second podium finish of the KONI Challenge season during Saturday's Grand...

Mosport Podium Gives Automatic Racing's Segal and Thornton Momentum for Mid-Ohio

BOWMANVILLE, Ontario -- Automatic Racing's Jep Thornton and Jeff Segal drove to their second podium finish of the KONI Challenge season during Saturday's Grand Sport race at Mosport International Raceway. Their third-place finish in the No. 09 Fresh from Florida BMW M3 has given them plenty of momentum heading into this weekend's race at Mid-Ohio.

Thornton started the race, working his way up to third during his stint and staying out of the pits longer than the other teams. The late pit stop to hand over to Segal was just enough to get the No. 09 BMW to the finish line without an additional stop for fuel.

"It was a bit of a surprise. We weren't the fastest car on track because we had some setup issues, but my late pit allowed Jeff to stay up front," said Thornton. When asked about his and Segal's second-place points standing, just 18 points behind driver championship leader Joe Foster, Thornton remarked, "We never use the 'c' word! We'll let Joe do that in his press releases."

"I didn't know if we'd make it to the end," said Segal of the team's fuel gamble. "After the flag I didn't even know if we'd make it to impound. We got really lucky with a late-race caution. I'm excited going into Mid-Ohio because it's one of the best tracks we go to for the M3. Hopefully we'll gain some ground in the points."

Thornton and Segal were not the only Automatic Racing drivers to earn strong finishes over the weekend. The No. 90 BMW M3 of Jon Miller and Owen Trinkler finished seventh, marking the duo's best finish of the season.

"I was the only one on the team who had never been to Mosport before. Owen taught me a lot and got me up to speed. It was nice to finally finish in the top ten and realize some of our potential," said Miller, who will be co-driving at Mid-Ohio with Serge Glazunov.

Tim George, Jr. and Conrad Grunewald finished eighth in the No. 91 BMW. It is the third top-ten finish in just four races for them. "The crew did a great job," remarked George. "We had a really fast pit stop and that helped a lot. We're happy to get another top ten, and I'm looking forward to Mid-Ohio. I know that track well and have a Skip Barber win there."

Tom Long and David Russell had a stellar start to the race weekend in the No. 99 Fresh from Florida BMW M3, but bad luck beset them early in the race. Long qualified second, putting Automatic Racing on the front row for the start. He held down second during his stint, pulling away from third place until the bracket holding the seat in place sheared off.

Long pitted and the team lost 40 laps while a new mounting point for the seat was made. Russell took the car back on track after that, and the No. 99 BMW eventually finished 26th. "I'm going to forget about Mosport and take the momentum from the previous races," said Long of heading straight to Mid-Ohio, where he has a number of top finishes. "We know that Mid-Ohio is a good track for us, and we can be up front this weekend."

"We both have a vengeance going into Mid-Ohio," said Russell. "We have a mission to do well there -- we have nothing to lose now."

The KONI Challenge Grand Sport race at Mid-Ohio kicks off at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, June 23.

-credit: ar

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