SCC: Daytona II: Automatic Racing preview

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.- Automatic Racing began the 2003 season with a podium finish at their home track of Daytona International Raceway, and the team hopes to have a repeat performance as they return for the Grand-Am Cup season finale on Friday, ...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.- Automatic Racing began the 2003 season with a podium finish at their home track of Daytona International Raceway, and the team hopes to have a repeat performance as they return for the Grand-Am Cup season finale on Friday, October 31.

Jep Thornton and David Russell drive the No. 09 Automatic Racing BMW M3 in the Grand Sports II class, and the team is poised to finish third in GSII points in their first season of racing.

Automatic Racing, which is based in nearby Deland, Fla., was catapulted to the top of the GSII class in February, when the young team took second in the season opener at Daytona. Since then, the team has gone on to earn a third place at Homestead-Miami Speedway, third at Barber Motorsports Park, the pole at Mosport, and four other top-ten finishes.

Now, with a full season of endurance racing nearly complete, Automatic Racing returns home to Daytona with hopes of once again standing on the podium and of earning some important points. The team is only one point away from taking third in the GSII team championship.

"Our goal is to get Jep ahead in the points, and to get the team back up to third in the championship," explained Russell. "We want to get Jep ahead of the Nissan drivers. If we win the race in the process, that would be an added bonus."

Qualifying for the Daytona Finale will be held from 10:30-10:45 a.m. EST for the Grand Sports classes, and the three-hour race will start at 5:30 the same day.

"Daytona is the first track I ever raced, and the first track where I got a podium, and it's my home track," commented Thornton. "It's one of my favorite tracks because it's home, it's got such historical significance, and there's so much going on in the paddock. It's fun being there. There's just something about Daytona; it feels special. Part of the fun this time is it's going to be dark for the last part of the race."

Fans can keep up with Automatic Racing, and listen to audio clips from Thornton and Russell, by visiting the team's website, www.AutomaticRacing.com.

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