Automatic Racing's No. 09 Fresh from Florida BMW Fifth at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Jep Thornton and Jeff Segal gave Automatic Racing a fifth-place finish in Friday's Fresh from Florida 200 at Daytona International Raceway, staying at the...
Automatic Racing's No. 09 Fresh from Florida BMW Fifth at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Jep Thornton and Jeff Segal gave Automatic Racing a fifth-place finish in Friday's Fresh from Florida 200 at Daytona International Raceway, staying at the front throughout the three-hour race in the No. 09 Fresh from Florida BMW M3.
Thornton qualified ninth for the Grand-Am KONI Challenge season opener, and at the start of the race he and teammate Tom Long, who was driving the No. 99 Fresh from Florida BMW M3, worked their way into the top five.
Long and Thornton ran fifth and sixth throughout much of the first hour, before they both pitted during a caution period. Segal took the No. 09 BMW back on track, and David Russell took over in the No. 99 BMW.
Segal soon had his car in fifth, and pit strategy came into play at the halfway mark. A caution period allowed Segal to stop for fuel, and although he lost a lot of positions he was able to work his way back up to fifth before the checkered flag.
"The team built a great car, and I've really got to hand it to the crew for doing such great pit stops," said Segal. "We even beat last year's champions out of the pits, and I think we've got the right combination to be at the front consistently this year. I drove for nearly two hours, and I've got to thank Performance Drink, because it really made a difference in such a long stint."
"I had a really good stint and I'm really pleased with our finish," commented Thornton. "It was a good way to start the season- Jeff did a great job and we've got a solid car under us."
Meanwhile, Russell was also in the top ten with 20 minutes to go, but he had to take evasive action when several cars in front of the No. 99 BMW came together, and he dropped back in the standings as a result. At the finish, Long and Russell were 17th.
"Jep and I had a great time running together out there," said Long. "The Mustangs were fast on the banking, but we had the advantage on the brakes and through the corners. I had a blast in my first race with the team."
Russell added that, "We really had a top-five car today, and it's unfortunate that we weren't able to make it happen. We got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, but Tom and I are working well together, the crew did an outstanding job, and we're looking forward to round two."
The No. 91 Automatic Racing BMW M3 brought home a finish after an early problem with the oil pressure. Pete Argetsinger began the race, moving from 18th to ninth before the problem developed. After the crew made repairs in the garage, the No. 91 BMW returned to the track with Gleukos-sponsored Tim George, Jr. behind the wheel. George got to work making up for lost time to earn 41st in the Grand Sport class.
The race ended early for Jon Miller and Owen Trinkler when their No. 90 BMW M3 was forced to retire after contact from another car resulted in a broken axle. Miller, who is sponsored by Weeden Consultants, was behind the wheel at the time and he had been running with the leaders before the incident.