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Automatic Racing's Thornton and Segal Looking for Redemption at Miller TOOELE, UT -- With only two races remaining in the KONI Challenge season, Automatic Racing's Jep Thornton and Jeff Segal are on the offensive to regain the driver ...

Automatic Racing's Thornton and Segal Looking for Redemption at Miller

TOOELE, UT -- With only two races remaining in the KONI Challenge season, Automatic Racing's Jep Thornton and Jeff Segal are on the offensive to regain the driver championship lead during this weekend's race at Miller Motorsports Park.

Thornton and Segal were having an unprecedented season prior to the last round at New Jersey Motorsports Park, finishing in the top five in every race. After getting hit by two other cars at New Jersey, though, the drivers of the No. 09 Imported Car Store/Rogue Engineering/LandAir/Engine Music Studios BMW M3 found themselves out of the driver championship lead in the Grand Sport class.

It's not all bad news, however. The No. 09 Automatic Racing M3 still leads the team championship, and the driver championship lead is only six points away. Thornton and Segal are no strangers to a little bit of late-season drama. They had hoped to wrap up the 2007 championship at Miller, but a broken axle meant that the battle continued to the last round at Virginia International Raceway.

Now, the challenge is on to get back to the top of the pack this weekend at Miller. "New Jersey sucked, and we went from the points lead to sixth. Now we've got nothing to lose going into Miller, and we're going to do whatever it takes to make up some ground," said Segal.

"We've got a lot of work to do if we're going to get the championship lead back, but Miller is a great track for the M3s, and our team had the pole there last year," said Thornton. "Obviously we've got to give credit to Joe Varde and the rest of the team for getting our car repaired so quickly. They've given us a great car all year, but they've had to work harder than usual after the carnage at New Jersey."

Rob Finlay has been keeping a busy travel schedule since the New Jersey round, but he'll be back in the U.S. and ready to race this weekend in the No. 99 Mobile-Shop.com BMW M3 along with his co-driver Steve Cameron. Finlay and Cameron have been consistently fast in qualifying, and they have run in the top ten at nearly every race, so they hope to post some top-five finishes to end the season on a high note.

Charlie Putman and Charles Espenlaub will be back in action in the No. 91 Automatic Racing BMW M3, and they have been a force to contend with lately. Their trio of top-ten finishes was interrupted at New Jersey, but now that they are heading to Miller's familiar territory, both drivers are hoping for more top results.

Automatic Racing's three BMW M3s will get on track for practice on Thursday, with qualifying on Saturday. The two-and-a-half hour race starts at 11:15 a.m. on Sunday, September 21.

-credit: ar

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Charles Espenlaub , Jep Thornton , Jeff Segal , Joe Varde , Rob Finlay , Charlie Putman
Teams Automatic Racing