SCC: VIR: Automatic Racing preview

Automatic Racing 4th in Points Heading into Season Finale at VIR LEEDS, Ala. -- Automatic Racing is heading to Virginia International Raceway this weekend for the VIR 200, the final race in the 2005 Grand-Am Cup season, with a fourth-place ...

Automatic Racing 4th in Points Heading into Season Finale at VIR

LEEDS, Ala. -- Automatic Racing is heading to Virginia International Raceway this weekend for the VIR 200, the final race in the 2005 Grand-Am Cup season, with a fourth-place standing in points.

Jeff Segal and Nick Longhi, drivers of the No. 09 BMW M3, are looking forward to the challenges of the historic track and the racing action in the Grand Sport class. Segal and Longhi first teamed up as co-drivers at Mid-Ohio in August, marking Segal's debut with Automatic Racing.

"This is the first time Nick and I have driven together, but we've worked together for four or five years with various programs," explained Segal, who started racing karts at the age of 12. Mid-Ohio marked Segal's first Grand-Am Cup race, although he is no stranger to Grand American Road Racing. The 20-year old has been competing in the Rolex Series for the past two seasons.

"I raced at VIR last year and the year before, and I've done a bunch of testing there," added Segal. "I think it's going to be more difficult for us than some other tracks. The Mustangs have the power advantage and the straights are so long at VIR."

Longhi, who served as a substitute driver for Automatic Racing in 2004, echoed Segal's feelings about the challenges of racing at VIR. "The advantages we have are handling and braking; BMW is the class of the field in those aspects. The disadvantage is power- we have the smallest engine out there. My favorite part of VIR is the series of turns leading out onto the front straight. They're a great combo."

The Grand-Am Cup Series has seen a lot of contact between cars this year, and Longhi stressed the importance of getting a good result without getting involved in any contact. "We don't want to get into needless fights," he said. "The BMW is fairly vulnerable, so we don't want to get bumped into. It's going to be key to drive a clean race."

Automatic Racing will also field the No. 90 BMW M3 of Dave Riddle and Kris Wilson. VIR will mark the conclusion of the duo's first full season of racing together. "We've had a few hurdles this year, but we've learned a lot," remarked Wilson. "We've really developed as teammates and Dave has been able to learn all of the tracks on the Grand-Am Cup schedule. We're looking forward to doing some testing over the off-season."

In the meantime, Riddle and Wilson are anxious to top off their season with a strong finish at VIR. "It's a classic race track with some great turns," said Riddle. "The esses going up to the back section are super. It's got everything: elevation changes, high-speed corners, long straightaways and some sweepers. I'm looking forward to being back there."

The cars will get on track Friday for practice, and qualifying will be held on Saturday, followed by the VIR 200 at 1:50 p.m.

Fans can find more information about Automatic Racing online at www.AutomaticRacing.com.

Automatic Racing is sponsored by Automatic LLC, LandAir, Engine Studios, Rogue Engineering, Lynch Imports, Moton Shocks and Fikse Wheels.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Nick Longhi , Jeff Segal , Dave Riddle , Kris Wilson
Teams Automatic Racing