Automatic Racing on Mid-Ohio Podium After Dramatic Grand-Am Cup Race LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Automatic Racing had a dramatic day during Sunday's Grand-Am Cup 200 at Mid-Ohio, leading twice and finally crossing the finish line in third for the...
Automatic Racing on Mid-Ohio Podium After Dramatic Grand-Am Cup Race
LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Automatic Racing had a dramatic day during Sunday's Grand-Am Cup 200 at Mid-Ohio, leading twice and finally crossing the finish line in third for the team's second podium finish of the season.
What makes the day even more memorable is that the two leads and the third place were for each of the three Automatic Racing BMW M3s.
Eventually, it was the No. 09 BMW of David Russell and Kris Wilson that crossed the finish line in third after Wilson made a pass for the podium spot just before a caution period brought the race to a close.
With two of the Automatic Racing BMWs out of contention for a top finish early, the No. 09 steadily held down a top-five standing. Russell started the race from ninth and was holding down fifth before he made a pit stop under caution to hand the car over to Wilson.
Wilson re-entered the track in sixth and soon made up two positions. As the clock wound down, he made the pass for third and was narrowing the gap to second place when a full-course caution began. The caution lasted until the checkered flag, and Wilson crossed the finish line for Automatic Racing's second podium of the season.
"We struggled with the car during testing but found the balance by the first practice session," said Russell. "The car was fast but wasn't able to show true form for qualifying as a worn suspension bushing set us back to 9th. For the race, we knew if we could be there at the end we'd have a shot. The pit stop was solid, Joe (Varde) gave us a fast car, and John (Terry) had the right strategy."
Wilson's usual co-driver is Dave Riddle, but he was unable to make the race, prompting him to call Russell about substituting just three days before the event. "I've got to thank The Riddler for asking me to step in since he couldn't make it. I appreciate the opportunity and am glad we could give him a podium," commented Russell.
"Coming out of turn one Pat (Long, in third place) missed a gear or something, and he slowed all of a sudden," said Wilson of his pass for third. "I lifted a bit because I thought maybe there was a caution. When I realized there wasn't, I went for it. It's been a long time since I've had that much fun racing. The first person I've got to thank is The Riddler, and also Automatic Racing."
It was Jeff Segal who led the way at the start of the two-hour and 30-minute race after starting on the pole in the No. 90 Automatic Racing BMW M3. After holding down the lead for the first five laps, an anxious second place Porsche made contact with Segal while trying to pass. The resulting damage ended the day for Segal and his co-driver Joao Barbosa.
After Segal got pushed out of the lead, Emil Assentato took over the top spot in the No. 91 Automatic Racing BMW M3. Contact in a race that was filled with bumping and banging between competitors struck again, and Assentato was forced into a spin after leading for five laps. He and Nick Longhi eventually finished 19th.