SCC: Mid-Ohio: Automatic Racing preview

Automatic Racing Ready for Action at Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Oh -- Mid-Ohio has been a challenge for Automatic Racing in the past, but the Grand Sport team is looking forward to returning to the heart of Ohio for the Grand-Am Cup EMCO Gears...

Automatic Racing Ready for Action at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Oh -- Mid-Ohio has been a challenge for Automatic Racing in the past, but the Grand Sport team is looking forward to returning to the heart of Ohio for the Grand-Am Cup EMCO Gears Classic on Sunday, August 28.

The No. 09 Automatic Racing BMW M3 of Jep Thornton and David Russell has come away from the past two Grand-Am Cup races at Mid-Ohio with a few dings. In 2003, a car spun in front of Thornton, leaving him with nowhere to go. Last year, a car tapped Russell and the BMW spun. Both times, however, the team was able to rally to a top-15 finish.

Now, with the points battle raging and the season beginning to wind down, Thornton and Russell are hoping for a flawless race and a top-five finish.

Thornton said that the key to getting a good finish at Mid-Ohio will be "a clean start. Qualifying up front is important. Also driving clean and keeping our focus as we try to move ahead in the points race."

Mid-Ohio is a very good track for the BMW. The higher-horsepower cars have the two big straights to their advantage, but the back section from turns seven to thirteen are for the BMWs. We got 50 pounds added to the M3s after Trois-Rivieres, but we have the smallest motor in the class, so that will be a challenge to us, especially on the straights."

"You need a combination of three things at Mid-Ohio- power on the straights, good braking and handling," said Russell. "You've got to have everything there; you need the whole package to have success."

A strong finish will be even sweeter for the No. 09 team since Thornton names Mid-Ohio as his favorite track and Russell has family members in the area that will be coming to cheer on Automatic Racing.

Thornton and Russell ran as high as third during the Trois-Rivieres 150 two weeks ago, so they feel confident about their chances at Mid-Ohio. Russell has the added advantage of having instructed with the Skip Barber Racing School there.

"It gives you the opportunity to drive in a low-key environment and spend more time with each corner," said Russell of his instruction at Mid-Ohio. "You can look at the pavement and the camber of the turn, and really analyze it. You do that with the students, and it's also how I learned the track."

The No. 90 Automatic Racing BMW M3 of Jeff Segal and Nic Longhi will also be competing, and it marks the first time that Segal and Longhi have driven together with the team.

Qualifying for the Grand Sport entries will be held on Saturday at 4:10 p.m. The rare Sunday race will begin at 1:00 p.m. and will be 200 miles in length.

-ar-

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