SCC: Homestead II: Automatic Racing preview

Automatic Racing: Homestead, Hurricanes and a Baby HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Automatic Racing is heading to Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend for the Grand-Am Cup 250, which has already been delayed a week due to Hurricane Frances. Jep ...

Automatic Racing: Homestead, Hurricanes and a Baby

HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Automatic Racing is heading to Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend for the Grand-Am Cup 250, which has already been delayed a week due to Hurricane Frances.

Jep Thornton and Eric Van Cleef will be behind the wheel of the No. 09 Automatic Racing BMW M3, a Grand Sports entry, for the one-day event, which will have practice the morning of Saturday, September 18, followed by the 250-mile race in the afternoon.

The onslaught of Hurricane Frances and the anticipated foul weather from Hurricane Ivan prompted Grand-American officials to delay the race by one week, and they eliminated qualifying to help shorten the schedule.

The race date posed a problem for David Russell, who normally co-drives with Thornton. Russell and his wife are expecting their first child the week following the race, so he will not be able to co-drive this weekend.

Automatic Racing suffered some bad luck at Homestead during round two of the Grand-Am Cup season when they had a clutch failure. But after earning a third-place finish there last season, Thornton is looking forward to returning to the 2.3-mile, 11-turn track.

"We are working on some new set up ideas for the car based on the data that we collected at Homestead earlier in the season," said Thornton. "Due to the broken clutch in the last race in lap three, we had a DNF so we are looking forward to achieving a good finish this weekend. The car is in great shape and we hope to have a strong package at Homestead."

Van Cleef, who is substituting for Russell, drove with Automatic Racing last year in a second BMW M3 that the team entered at selected rounds. He and co-driver Terry Earwood made their debut during the Homestead round last season, driving to an 8th place finish in Grand Sports II.

"I'm thankful that Jep and David had the confidence to bring me back in," said Van Cleef. "I think it's a great team, and I enjoyed racing with them last year. I'm looking forward to this weekend. They both say that the car is phenomenal. I expect to feel comfortable quickly."

The Miami 250 will begin at 2:45 PM EST on Saturday, September 18, following two rounds of practice in the morning.

Fans can keep up with Automatic Racing at www.AutomaticRacing.com.

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