Automatic Racing Finishes 8th in Dominican Republic SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Automatic Racing came away from their weekend in a Caribbean paradise with an eighth-place finish in Saturday's Miller Grand-Am Cup 200 at Autodromo Las...
Automatic Racing Finishes 8th in Dominican Republic
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Automatic Racing came away from their weekend in a Caribbean paradise with an eighth-place finish in Saturday's Miller Grand-Am Cup 200 at Autodromo Las Americas in Santo Domingo.
David Russell started the race from the front row in the No. 09 Automatic Racing BMW M3 after qualifying second among the 35 Grand Sports entries. He and Jep Thornton anticipated having a two-stop strategy for the race because of the hot and humid conditions, so Russell pitted while running in third to hand the controls over to Thornton.
Instead of getting to pit later in the race, Thornton found himself behind the wheel of the BMW for the remainder of the event. The team's race strategy was upset by a 40-minute caution period caused by timing and scoring losing power. Once their power was restored and the racing continued, Thornton held down third for much of the final half of the race before slipping back to eighth.
"We accomplished our goal of staying out of trouble and getting a good finish, and the car ran great even in the heat," said Russell. "We should have stuck to our normal pit stop strategy, but who knew that the power would go down and we'd have that long yellow. At least we're leaving here in one piece."
"It was hot, hot, hot, but we did it with only one stop," Thornton commented. "I faded some at the end. Santo Domingo is great, the track was fun and we're happy with a top-ten finish."
Kris Wilson qualified sixth in the No. 90 Automatic Racing BMW M3. He got a strong start and was running in fifth when the ABS on the car failed. He ran off the track but was able to continue for several laps, fighting the brakes the entire time.
Wilson pitted for new tires, then returned to the track and began making up for lost time. Riddle took over the job of chasing down the leaders when he climbed behind the wheel for his stint, crossing the finish line in 17th.
Wilson explained that he was "trying to go inside Scott Maxwell. I hit the brakes and there was no ABS. The good thing is that I sailed right past him and didn't hit him. I tried to go a couple more laps but the tires were flat-spotted. When I pitted the tires were down to the cords."
"We did as good as we could do," said Riddle. "The car was great for me and the weekend was a lot of fun. It was different than anything in the States. There were a lot of fans and everybody was so enthusiastic."
Automatic Racing will have just three weeks to get their two BMWs prepped and transported to California Speedway for round three of the Grand-Am Cup Series from April 1-2.
Fans can keep up with Automatic Racing online at www.AutomaticRacing.com.