SCC: Daytona II: Automatic Racing race notes

Automatic Racing in top 5 before suspension failure at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.- Automatic Racing had a bittersweet end to the Grand-Am Cup season when a broken suspension forced them to retire from the 3-hour finale at Daytona International...

Automatic Racing in top 5 before suspension failure at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.- Automatic Racing had a bittersweet end to the Grand-Am Cup season when a broken suspension forced them to retire from the 3-hour finale at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, October 31, after running with the class leaders in the first half of the race.

Jep Thornton and David Russell had high hopes of standing on the Grand Sports II podium at their home track of Daytona. Thornton qualified the Automatic Racing BMW M3 eighth among the GSII entries. He was second among the cars that do not have V8 engines in the class.

At the start of the race, Thornton was turning consistent lap times when there was a full-course caution on lap 24. He took advantage of the yellow to make an early pit stop before continuing.

After the restart, Thornton was entering turn six when another car hit the right rear of the Automatic Racing BMW. The contact resulted in a flat right rear tire, and Thornton came into the pits.

Russell got behind the wheel, and was battling with several of the top teams in GSII when the damage done to the car previously caused the right rear suspension to break. The team's day was ended early, and Automatic Racing wound up 14th in GSII.

"Before then I was battling with guys who ended up winning," said Russell. "Even with the smallest motor in GSII, due to teamwork and the proper setup, we were still in a position to be on the podium."

"We would have liked better results. We were in fifth before this happened," added Thornton. "I had a good run. I was on the same lap as the leader in GSII. I was in turn six and a guy came over on me and just hit me. I got a flat tire and came in to the pits. It was a bumpy race; a lot of hitting was going on. But my times were consistent so I was happy with that."

Automatic Racing will have a short break before returning to the racetrack in mid-November for further testing of their BMW E46 M3, which they will campaign in 2004.

Fans can keep up with Automatic Racing during the off-season by visiting their website at www.AutomaticRacing.com.

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