Promising start to the new IMSA Bronze Cup halted early following axle issue
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (28 January 2022) – The Stoner Car Care Racing fielded by Automatic Racing team saw flawless pit stops and excellent strategy go for naught in Friday’s BMW M Endurance Challenge when a mechanical issue with just under an hour remaining in the four-hour race at the famed Daytona International Speedway put the team on the sidelines.
The team entered 2022 with a commitment to contend for the Michelin Pilot Challenge’s new Bronze Cup with its pair of FIA Bronze-rated drivers, Rob Ecklin, Jr. and Ramin Abdolvahabi, but typically unpredictable Florida winter weather early in the weekend held the pair to only 16 laps through two practice sessions and qualifying, due to a constant light rain that rendered the 3.56-mile combination oval and road course quite treacherous.
Abdolvahabi qualified the No. 09 Aston Martin in 27th position on Thursday afternoon as the wet track dried more quickly than the team had anticipated. Ecklin, who had missed last weekend’s Roar Before the 24 due to business commitments, was able to share 16 laps of hard practice Friday morning to hone the Aston Martin’s setup ahead of the race.
The green flag flew under cool and cloudy skies, as Abdolvahabi battled for position in the 31-car Grand Sport (GS) class field. Coming into pit lane during the first full-course caution 30 minutes into the race, the team performed a flawless pit stop that saw Abdolvahabi gain 10 positions.
Just past midway and shortly after the second stop for fuel and tires, the Aston Martin was hit in the rear and spun, costing Abdolvahabi valuable positions. Recovering quickly, he began to make up ground before a second full-course caution dictated a return to pit lane and a driver change to Ecklin.
“It was a good run, but it should have been better,” said Abdolvahabi.
“We were putting down good times and sticking to our plan until midway through the race. Another car just dive bombed into Turn Three and slammed me in the back, spinning me around, which cost me three spots, but we recovered well. But the car was stable, and the pit work was outstanding, so it’s really a shame to break an axle. We had a chance for a good finish, but there was nothing we could do."
Ecklin was putting down solid laps as the race entered its third hour, with the No. 09 Aston Martin second among the six Bronze Cup teams and 21st in class. But soon after the field entered the final hour of racing, he felt the car snap.
"Today was the first time we really had a dry track all weekend but the team handled it well,” said Ecklin. “I ran through my first stint of fuel, came in for fuel and tires and when I went back out, I felt a vibration, which is not abnormal on a new set of tires. It got better but it never fully went away. And then I came out of Turn Three, which is a third-gear exit, went full throttle and the rear end just snapped. I could feel it right away. Just really disappointed for the team.”
Next. up for the Stoner Car Care Racing Team will be the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 on Thursday, March 17 at Sebring International Raceway.
About Stoner Car Care
Stoner Car Care produces high-performance car washes, waxes, polishes, and dressings for auto enthusiasts and car care professionals. The Stoner Car Care line-up includes Invisible Glass, America's #1 Automotive Glass Cleaner, along with many other appearance products. Whether driving, washing or waxing, Performance Matters! Stoner car care proudly formulates all of our product since 1942. www.stonercarcare.com
About Invisible Glass
Automatic Racing sees their way to victory with Invisible Glass, the top-selling automotive glass cleaner in the United States. The Invisible Glass product line includes aerosol and spray bottle cleaner, Invisible Glass with rain repellent for windshields and wiper blades. Find more online at https://www.invisibleglass.com/
About Automatic Racing
Based in Orlando, Automatic Racing is one of the longest-running teams in the paddock, forming in 2001 and competing in all but one of the 11 MICHELIN Pilot Challenge races at Daytona. The team has been developing, preparing and racing the prestigious Aston Martin Vantage GT4 since 2012. Automatic Racing won the 2017 MICHELIN Pilot Challenge title.
About End Alzheimer’s Racing
End Alzheimer’s Racing began in 2019, as father and son duo Bill and Alex Slupski – both experienced kart racers who also work in sports car racing – chose racing as the “vehicle” for their program to promote awareness and raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association. Through End Alzheimer’s Racing, they want to be an integral part of the support network for families dealing with Alzheimer’s and other dementias and be part of the cure that ends Alzheimer’s disease.