SCC: Fontana: Automatic Racing preview

Automatic Racing in Points Battle Entering Season Finale at California Speedway FONTANA, Calif. -- Automatic Racing is in the middle of a six-way battle for fifth in Grand Sports points as the Grand-Am Cup Series heads to California Speedway...

Automatic Racing in Points Battle Entering Season Finale at California Speedway

FONTANA, Calif. -- Automatic Racing is in the middle of a six-way battle for fifth in Grand Sports points as the Grand-Am Cup Series heads to California Speedway for the tenth and final round of the 2004 season, the Grand-Am Cup 250 on Saturday, October 30.

Jep Thornton and David Russell will once again be co-driving the No. 09 Automatic Racing BMW M3, and the pair will be seeking both a podium finish and a leading advantage in the points chase. The team is currently tied for ninth in the Grand Sports championship, but they are only 30 points away from fifth. A third-place finish or higher could propel Automatic Racing into the top five.

Automatic Racing proved that they have the capability to run at the front of the field, holding down third for an hour during the previous round, held at Barber Motorsports Park on October 9. A broken shift linkage, however, dropped the team out of contention.

As the team prepares for the last competition of the season, they are anxious to return to the podium. Automatic Racing finished third during round seven at Homestead-Miami Speedway. California Speedway has a similar layout, with tight turns paired with oval track banking, and the combination should be advantageous to the BMW.

"Last year I had a bad case of strep throat. I literally arrived late on Friday, did one practice session, qualified, started the race and after 30 minutes when we got a yellow, brought the car in and gave it to David," reflected Thornton. "I then went right to the airport to my aircraft and went back to Orlando. I'm looking forward to the race this year. Considering how we did at Homestead, we should do well at Fontana. The car is running great. The shifter linkage problem at Barber was a bummer, but we feel good about our chances here."

"With this shootout for the championship, I think you'll have a couple of teams running conservatively this weekend," predicted Russell. "But I think it's going to be a big fender pounding race with the other cars as they try to get the last points of the season. We're in a position where we can step it up some to move up in the championship.

"Fontana has a section, turns 16-21, that is one of the most fun series of corners I've done. It's like a 180-degree turn, but it goes through four phases and if you get it right you skim the tire wall. It's really rewarding if you get it right because of the great drive you get onto the front straight."

Thornton will qualify the No. 09 BMW from 11:40-11:55 a.m. on Saturday, October 30. The 250-mile season finale will begin the same day at 2:00 p.m.

Fans can find Automatic Racing news, pictures and a bulletin board at www.AutomaticRacing.com.

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

-ar-

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