SCC: Birmingham: Automatic Racing preview

Automatic Racing Looking for Another Podium at Barber LEEDS, Ala. -- Automatic Racing surprised everyone during last year's Grand-Am Cup round at Barber Motorsports Park by starting from the back of the field and driving to a third-place ...

Automatic Racing Looking for Another Podium at Barber

LEEDS, Ala. -- Automatic Racing surprised everyone during last year's Grand-Am Cup round at Barber Motorsports Park by starting from the back of the field and driving to a third-place finish. The team hopes to stand on the podium again when they return this weekend for the Grand-Am Cup 250.

Jep Thornton will be joined by Nick Longhi for the 250-mile race in the No. 09 Automatic Racing BMW M3. Longhi is substituting for David Russell, who is at home with his new daughter, Tatum.

During the VIR 250 at Virginia International Raceway last weekend, the team qualified fourth and led the race for a while before finally finishing eighth. With just one week between rounds, the team is busy preparing for another run at the front.

"I think our chances of getting on the podium again are very good," commented Thornton. "The car is in great shape, as shown at VIR. We have some more work to do and the test day before the race will help and give us a chance to work on our setup. We have a real good shot of doing something good at Barber. I love the track and I'm looking forward to another good result there."

Longhi is a veteran sports car racer whose association with the key members of Automatic Racing started with some of his other racing endeavors. Crew chief Mike McLaughlin worked with Longhi during a race several years ago, resulting in a podium finish.

"This worked out really well for me. Jep is a great guy, I've known David for a long time and Mike and I have worked together before," said Longhi. "The team has been clearly moving forward and they have all of the elements together. I feel like I'm walking into something pretty good!

"I ran at Barber last year. I know (track designer) Alan Wilson well and I think that he's the best designer anywhere. As far as the layout of the track, I think it should be suitable for the BMW."

Automatic Racing will have a practice day on Friday, October 8, with two on-track sessions. Thornton will qualify with the rest of the Grand Sports cars on Saturday from 11:35-11:50 a.m. CT. The race will be held Saturday afternoon, beginning at 2:00 p.m.

Fans can keep up with Automatic Racing at www.AutomaticRacing.com.

Automatic Racing is sponsored by Automatic Commercial Aircraft, LandAir, Engine Music Studios, Moton Shocks and Fikse Wheels.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Mike McLaughlin , Nick Longhi , Jep Thornton
Teams Automatic Racing