Automatic Racing's Top-Ten Streak Continues at Watkins Glen WATKINS GLEN, NY--Mark Hillestad and Barry Waddell knew that consistency was going to be an important factor in Friday's KONI Challenge Sports Car race at Watkins Glen. The Automatic ...
Automatic Racing's Top-Ten Streak Continues at Watkins Glen
WATKINS GLEN, NY--Mark Hillestad and Barry Waddell knew that consistency was going to be an important factor in Friday's KONI Challenge Sports Car race at Watkins Glen. The Automatic Racing duo was aiming for their fourth top-ten finish in as many races, and they did just that.
Driving the No. 99 Automatic Racing/H&S Tool BMW M3, Hillestad and Waddell rose from 21st to tenth during the course of the race. "The shorter schedule this weekend might have hurt us a bit, but we felt that with our history here and our strategy, we'd be good in the race," said Waddell. "We stayed on the lead lap and were tenth on the last restart, but we just couldn't move forward. This finish is in line with our goals for our rookie year."
Top-ten finishes might be their goal, but Hillestad anticipates even better results when KONI Challenge visits Mid-Ohio in two weeks. "Mid-Ohio is my home track, and my favorite place to race," he said. "Barry and I have both improved a lot over the last few months, and we're in a position now to be really competitive on the track I know best."
While the day garnered good results for Hillestad and Waddell, Watkins Glen was a huge disappointment for Putman and Espenlaub. Both drivers had high hopes for the weekend, since Watkins Glen is a favorite track for them. Things started well: Putman qualified ninth in the No. 91 Automatic Racing BMW M3.
Unfortunately, starting near the front can't always keep you out of trouble. On the start, Putman was entering turn three when he was hit by another car. The impact was so hard that the No. 91 M3 spun into a guardrail, ending the team's day early.
"We're really disappointed," said Putman. "We didn't get the opportunity to drive on one our favorite tracks. We had to sit there and watch everyone else running."
With only two weeks until Mid-Ohio, Automatic will ready their spare M3 for Putman and Espenlaub to drive there. That race will kick off on Saturday, June 20.