SCC: VIR: Automatic Racing preview

Automatic Racing Ready to Return to Grand-Am Cup Competition at VIR ALTON, Va. -- After a three-month break between Grand-Am Cup rounds, Automatic Racing is ready to get their four Grand Sport BMW M3s back into competition during round two at...

Automatic Racing Ready to Return to Grand-Am Cup Competition at VIR

ALTON, Va. -- After a three-month break between Grand-Am Cup rounds, Automatic Racing is ready to get their four Grand Sport BMW M3s back into competition during round two at Virginia International Raceway on Saturday, April 23.

Twenty-year-old Jeff Segal will be driving the No. 90 BMW along with David Russell. Segal's potential in the BMW M3 really showed at VIR last year, where he qualified third before going on to finish seventh in only his second event with Automatic Racing.

"It's all or nothing now, especially since we struggled at Daytona," said Segal, referring to electrical problems that plagued the No. 90 BMW after he qualified third in the season-opener. "We need to be aggressive and push for a good finish so we can recover some points. The car is good and the team has done a lot of work. We have a chance at getting on the podium. The car has improved a lot, especially over the car we had here last year."

Dave Riddle and Kris Wilson also had success at VIR last season, finishing the race in ninth. The two are aiming to earn another top-ten finish this year in the No. 99 BMW M3.

The rest of the Automatic Racing lineup includes Jep Thornton and Mark Patterson in the No. 09, and Nick Longhi and Emil Assentato in the No. 91 BMW.

VIR is considered a favorite of the Automatic Racing drivers, and most of them agree that the uphill esses are the best part of the 3.27-mile circuit. With the entry list nearing 100, there will be plenty of traffic during the race.

"I love driving at VIR; it's a lot of fun," said Longhi. "It's difficult to get two or thee cars wide in a lot of places. It's a pretty good track for our car, but we're concerned that with so much traffic we'll be at a disadvantage because we won't be able to keep up our momentum. But I'm actually looking forward to it because I love being in traffic and really racing the whole time."

For Thornton, going to VIR offers a lot more than just racing. "I love Danville, too. There's great BBQ and an excellent Mexican restaurant there," he commented. "The people are great, and the track is awesome with its country club feeling. We're really expecting Jeff (Segal) to do well at VIR since he qualified third there last year in only his second outing with us."

The Grand-Am Cup 200 at Virginia International Raceway starts on Saturday, April 22 at 3:15 p.m. The race will be 200 miles with a time limit of two and a half hours.

-www.AutomaticRacing.com.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Emil Assentato , Nick Longhi , Jep Thornton , Jeff Segal , Dave Riddle , Kris Wilson , David Russell
Teams Automatic Racing