SCC: Birmingham: Automatic Racing race report

Two Automatic Racing/Fresh from Florida BMWs in Top Five at Barber LEEDS, Ala. -- Both of the Automatic Racing/Fresh from Florida BMW M3s finished in the top five during Sunday's KONI Challenge Grand Sport race at Barber Motorsports Park, ...

Two Automatic Racing/Fresh from Florida BMWs in Top Five at Barber

LEEDS, Ala. -- Both of the Automatic Racing/Fresh from Florida BMW M3s finished in the top five during Sunday's KONI Challenge Grand Sport race at Barber Motorsports Park, continuing the team's streak of consistent top finishes.

Jeff Segal went from seventh to fourth with only two laps to go in the No. 99 Automatic/Fresh from Florida M3. Two cars ahead of him dropped back with mechanical problems or low fuel, and Segal passed his teammate Tom Long just before the checkered flag.

Although it is the first time in five races that Segal and Jep Thornton have missed the podium, fourth place was enough to give them a 15-point boost in the driver points, extending their lead to 30 points with three rounds remaining this season.

"We struggled to make the car work as well as it usually does," said Segal. "We just couldn't get a hold on the track, and in the race we couldn't keep our tires from overheating. Other teams had bigger problems and we came out okay. It's good to see both Fresh from Florida cars up in the top five. Tom and David drove a great race."

Thornton echoed the sentiment about Long and David Russell's fifth-place finish in the No. 99 Automatic/Fresh from Florida M3. "Tom drove the stint of his career, and David did a great job at the opening of the race, too," he said. "The 99 was the best car in the paddock. I'm very pleased for the team. We're a real team and it showed this weekend."

Long and Russell were consistently fast all weekend, and when it was time to qualify Russell secured a second-row start for the 99 car. After remaining in the top five for the duration of his stint, Russell handed over to Long who was fourth before conceding the position on the last lap. The finish has moved Long and Russell to sixth in points.

"I came into the pits with 30 minutes to go and took on left tires only," said Long. "Matt made that call and it was absolutely right; it made all the difference in the world. I'm excited that both of the Fresh from Florida M3s are top six in points. We hope now that we can move into the top three with both cars."

Jon Miller and Serge Glazunov drove to a finish of 25th in the No. 90 Automatic BMW M3, which is sponsored by Weeden Consultants. They ran in the top ten all day until late in the race, when an unscheduled pit stop dropped them back in the standings.

Tim George, Jr. and Conrad Grunewald had an early end to their day in the No. 91 Automatic M3 after contact damage that forced them to retire. It was a disappointment for both drivers, who had been setting fast times all weekend and had hopes of joining their teammates in the top five.

Automatic Racing will have a short break before heading to Trois-Rivieres from August 17-19.

-credit: ar

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Tom Long , Jep Thornton , Jeff Segal , Conrad Grunewald , Jon Miller , David Russell
Teams Automatic Racing