SCC: Watkins Glen: Automatic Racing Friday notes

New Grand-Am Cup team wins race against adversity. WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (JUNE 21, 2002). It might not look like it right now, but the guys from the newest team in The Grand-Am Cup Street Stock series is already celebrating despite the fact that ...

New Grand-Am Cup team wins race against adversity.

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (JUNE 21, 2002). It might not look like it right now, but the guys from the newest team in The Grand-Am Cup Street Stock series is already celebrating despite the fact that their race hasn't even been run. Getting a new racing team together in a short amount of time is no easy task at all and the case of Automatic Racing is no different.

Drivers David Russell and Jep Thornton met when Russell was an instructor for the Skip Barber Racing School. After a short while, the pair formed Automatic Racing team to campaign a BMW M3 in the GS II Division of Grand-Am Cup. This weekend at Watkins Glen Raceway will be Thornton's first ever-professional race-- previously, he has competed in Skip Barber Masters Series and various SCCA Regional races. With Russell co-driving as well as coaching Thornton around the historic 3.4-mile, 15-turn road course, Automatic Racing looks forward to a clean race with nothing but positive results.

"We're elated to be here this weekend," Russell commented."We are so fortunate that Jep and I aren't the only ones who are thrilled about this chance. Our crew members are all new to us and picking up Team Manager Bob Turnage really made things come together for us."

Compared to the challenges the team faced just getting to the track, putting the car together to compete seemed almost easy. The team hired its transporter driver just a few days before they were scheduled to leave, but, one was found and the red #09 Bimmer was on its way to The Glen. In Maryland, the truck blew a tire, delaying things even longer. Grand-Am Cup transporters were scheduled to be parked at the track paddock Thursday by 6:00 PM. The Automatic Racing truck-- tire fixed and driver exhausted-- arrived at 6:05 and fortunately the track security was generous enough to let them in.

Thornton arrives a few minutes later and revels some information of his own-- he crashed his motorcycle that morning and had banged up his left leg. Fortunately, after some coaxing to lie down and ice the whole leg, he was OK and ready to race.

"I'm not sure what is happening here but I do know that someone out there doesn't seem to want us to race here," commented Thornton."Now, all of that is past news and we are moving on to the task at hand. I am so lucky to have these guys with us and can't wait to get on the track and show the strength of the Automatic/Land Air/Engine Studios BMW M3."

The team has already participated in three practice sessions. Each one shows much improvement over the last and the guys at Automatic hope to keep that momentum going for this afternoon's Sports Car Grand Prix at The Glen. Watch for this team to continue its improvement throughout the 2002 season. For more information about the Grand-Am Cup Series, please visit their website at www.grand-amcup.com.

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