Automatic Racing on the podium at Phoenix. PHOENIX, Ariz.- The Automatic Racing BMW M3s finished third and fifth in the Grand Sports II (GSII) class in the United Auto 200 Grand Sports race at Phoenix International Raceway. The No. 90 BMW M3...
Automatic Racing on the podium at Phoenix.
PHOENIX, Ariz.- The Automatic Racing BMW M3s finished third and fifth in the Grand Sports II (GSII) class in the United Auto 200 Grand Sports race at Phoenix International Raceway.
The No. 90 BMW M3 shared by Terry Earwood and Eric Van Cleef finished third in GSII and tenth overall, completing 123 laps. The M3 is the new E46 model and the United Auto 200 was only the second time the car has been raced. After finishing eighth at Homestead several weeks ago, Earwood and Van Cleef both felt that the car had the potential to be on the podium.
Earwood started the race in fifth, and he was running in fourth when he pitted to hand over to Van Cleef, who worked his way into third.
"Terry gave me a great car," said Van Cleef. "We put new right side tires on and that helped. We took it pretty easy. It was hot and it was slick."
Van Cleef also commented on the success of a car that has so little time on a racetrack. "This track is a good equalizer," he said. "We're still struggling with a few small issues with the car, but it just keeps getting better."
"It was an exciting race for us; we're just tickled," said Earwood. "Our car stayed even keel the whole day. It was real slick in the infield, so we tried to keep the car under us and to get good gas mileage and tire mileage."
The No. 09 Automatic Racing BMW M3 of Jep Thornton and David Russell finished fifth in GSII and 12th among all of the Grand Sports cars. After starting sixth, Thornton worked his way into third. The No. 90 car ran just behind him in fourth for quite a while, but the temperature of the engine was getting hot. Thornton allowed them to go by so that the car could run in clean air, which would help cool down the engine.
"We're pleased with our day at Phoenix International Raceway," commented Thornton. "It was the first podium for our new E46, and both cars finished in the top five. Our goal all season is to be consistent and finish top five and we did that with both cars today.
"We're the only GSII team to podium in all three of the races we've had this season, so we're happy and ready to go to Barber."
The next event for Automatic Racing will be the Barber Park Twin 250s Grand Sports race at Barber Motorsports Park, May 16-18.
Automatic Racing is sponsored by Automatic Commercial Aircraft, BBS, LandAir and Engine Music Studios.
More information about Automatic Racing can be found on the team's website at www.AutomaticRacing.com.