Automatic Racing Finishes on the Grand-Am Cup Podium at Homestead HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Automatic Racing earned their first podium of the season in the Grand-Am Cup race at Homestead-Miami Raceway on Saturday, September 18, finishing third in...
Automatic Racing Finishes on the Grand-Am Cup Podium at Homestead
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Automatic Racing earned their first podium of the season in the Grand-Am Cup race at Homestead-Miami Raceway on Saturday, September 18, finishing third in the No. 09 BMW M3.
Jep Thornton and Eric Van Cleef co-drove in the hot and humid three-hour race. Consisting of a one-day format, the pair had two practice sessions on Saturday morning before getting the green flag in the afternoon.
Qualifying was eliminated because of the condensed schedule, so the starting grid was determined by points. Thornton started from 11th and began to work his way to the front.
When a full-course caution began in the first hour, Thornton took advantage of the slower pace to pit after working his way up to second. He handed the car over to Van Cleef, who was substituting for David Russell. Russell was unable to attend the race because he and his wife are expecting their first baby this week.
Van Cleef re-entered the race in ninth, moving up to third during his hour-long stint. He turned the car back over to Thornton to finish the race. The pit stop dropped the team back to sixth, but Thornton was able to work his way back up to third place, giving Automatic Racing their first podium finish of the season as the checkered flag flew.
"It goes without saying that we're really excited," enthused Thornton. "I was getting overheating alarms for the last 30 minutes. It was so hot out there it was just unreal. I'm really pleased. I want to thank David for all the work he does for the team and Eric for putting in a great drive. I'm going to give this trophy to David's baby."
"It went really good up until the heat started setting in," reflected Van Cleef. "It was brutal for both of us. I've never been so hot in a race before. I had a good race going with a few other cars. This felt like a win to me. It was great to get in a car again and be right back on the podium."
The next event for Automatic Racing will be the Grand-Am Cup 250 at Virginia International Raceway, a 250-mile race on Saturday, October 2. Fans can keep up with Automatic Racing at their website. www.AutomaticRacing.com.
Automatic Racing is sponsored by Automatic Commercial Aircraft, LandAir, Engine Music Studios, Moton Shocks and Fikse Wheels.