SCC: Lime Rock: Automatic Racing preview

Automatic Racing Ready to Celebrate Memorial Day with a Podium at Lime Rock ORLANDO, Fla. -- After a long break in the Grand-Am KONI Challenge schedule, Automatic Racing is ready to get back into action during this weekend's Grand Sport class...

Automatic Racing Ready to Celebrate Memorial Day with a Podium at Lime Rock

ORLANDO, Fla. -- After a long break in the Grand-Am KONI Challenge schedule, Automatic Racing is ready to get back into action during this weekend's Grand Sport class race at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.

Jeff Segal and Jep Thornton have been testing the No. 09 Automatic Racing BMW M3, and they're ready to continue defending their '07 championship. This is the first time the series has been on track since the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in January, where they drove to a fourth-place finish.

Segal and Thornton finished sixth in last year's Lime Rock race, and the solid result bumped them up to second in the driver points, the first stop on the way to their championship. "It was a pretty rough race last year with a lot of drama on the track," said Thornton. "This year, we hope to stay clean and get another good finish, but this time without the close calls!"

Nick Longhi and Joe Masessa are back in the No. 90 M3. Daytona offered its share of frustration after a fuel pump brought an early end to their race, but they're ready for another chance to show off their talents.

Charles Espenlaub and Charlie Putman are also back in action, driving the No. 91 M3. The longtime co-drivers finished an impressive seventh during their Automatic Racing debut at Daytona, and they plan to impress onlookers again this weekend.

"Both Charles and I will be doing double duty in at least one other series during the event, so we will be busy but getting plenty of track time," said Putman. "We were happy with our finish at Daytona, which kept us in the points, but we know we could have done better so we are very optimistic going into this weekend's event. Even though it's a very competitive field, running on a track that is difficult to pass on, we feel that the great-handling Automatic BMW and our race craft skills give us a great chance for a top finish."

Rob Finlay and Steve Cameron are making their Automatic Racing debut at Lime Rock, co-driving the No. 99 M3. "We had the opportunity to test at Lime Rock not long ago, so we've got a good baseline setup coming into the weekend," commented Finlay. "This track seems to be well-suited to the M3s, and we're looking forward to a good race."

The Automatic Racing drivers will practice on Friday, May 23, and qualify on Lime Rock's 1.53-mile track on Saturday. The 2.5-hour race gets underway on Monday -- Memorial Day -- at 9:45 a.m.

-credit: ar

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Nick Longhi , Charles Espenlaub , Jep Thornton , Joe Masessa , Jeff Segal , Rob Finlay , Charlie Putman , Steve Cameron
Teams Automatic Racing