Posted (03/02/2010) -
HOMESTEAD, Fla.—Automatic Racing stayed busy during the break between GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge rounds with testing, and they’ll find out if it paid off during this weekend’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The No. 99 Automatic Racing/H&S Tool BMW M3 will be ready to go thanks to a test at Homestead two weeks ago. Drivers Mark Hillestad and Barry Waddell are feeling confident, as well.
“We feel like we’re going back to Homestead with more potential then we had a year ago,” says Waddell. “The high car count will make the race challenging, and it will be difficult to come back from any kind of mistake. Hopefully our testing and preparation will pay off.”
The No. 99 H&S Tool M3 also carries sponsorship from LandAir, Rogue Engineering, The Imported Car Store, Sparco, Motul USA, and Cobalt Racing Brakes.
RSR Motorsports had a very successful race at Homestead last year, bringing home finishes of 7th, 12th and 17th. Randall Smalley and Owen Trinkler claimed the 12th spot last year, and they have their sights set on something much better this year. The increased reliability and development of the No. 196 Mini Cooper S, combined with Homestead’s tight infield turns, bodes well for them.
“Minis are always good in tight setups. We know we can run with the leaders, and we’ve got the handling, so I’m feeling good about this race. We think we’ve resolved our reliability issues from Daytona, too,” says Smalley.
“Our finish last year doesn’t show how competitive we were,” says Trinkler, noting that they flat-spotted a tire in the ’09 race. “You’ve got to save tires at Homestead; you can’t go there and abuse them. Whoever can manage tires the best will be up front at the end.”
Sarah Cattaneo and VJ Mirzayan had a stellar season debut at Daytona, keeping the No. 197 Mini Cooper S in the top five for most of the race before a punctured tire dropped them back. Now, Cattaneo says, it’s time to get a finish that reflects their potential. “It definitely puts a lot of pressure on us,” she says. “We’ll have to perform as well as we did in Daytona. It’s a good feeling to know we have a chance to win this. The Minis performed well here last year and I think it’s going to be a repeat.”
Mirzayan will be making his first Homestead appearance. He’s been preparing by watching videos of Homestead and talking to other drivers who have experience there. “The track will be busy, so the key will be to stay clean so that we’re still in it at the end. The Minis will be fast in the infield. Homestead has a lot of tight corners, so the infield should favor us,” commented Mirzayan.
BJ Zacharias and Craig Conway will be joining RSR Motorsports this weekend, driving the No. 198 Mini Cooper S. “The Minis have always shown well, and now they’re quicker than ever,” says Zacharias, who has driven for RSR Motorsports on many occasions throughout the past three years. “The Minis are more competitive now and I’m anxious to drive one at Homestead.”
RSR Motorsports is sponsored by Cruise America. The RV sales and rental company got their start in Miami, making this weekend’s race a homecoming for the team. RSR’s other sponsors include Four Winds International, Onan RV and Mobile Generators, Performance Friction Rotors, OS Giken Racing Clutches and Limited Slip Differentials, Midway Ford Truck Sales, Mini North Scottsdale, Helix Minisports, Motul USA, and Cobalt Racing Pads.
The GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race at Homestead begins at 1:05 p.m. EST on Saturday, March 6.
Keep up with Automatic Racing’s Grand Sport championship efforts at www.AutomaticRacing.com, and follow RSR’s attack on the Street Tuner class at www.RSRMotorsports.com.