The Stoner/Automatic Racing team makes a fast change of a major component to take the checkered flag in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season finale
BRASELTON, Ga. (30 September 2022) – Stoner Car Care Racing fielded by Automatic Racing put together a true team effort over the past 24 hours, fixing a major cam shaft issue to put the car on the Fox Factory 120 grid and to take the final IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge checkered flag of the season.
Braselton native Casey Carden joined team veteran Ramin Abdolvahabi behind the wheel of the No. 09 Stoner Car Care Aston Martin Vantage GT4. The Grand Sport class qualified late on Thursday afternoon, and Abdolvahabi put the car in 20th position on the starting grid despite a red flag that ruined his fast lap and left him with just one dash to set a quick time.
But when the team returned to the garage, they discovered a cam shaft failure that necessitated a complete change out of the part – which is easier said than done, as the cam shaft is deeply buried in the engine compartment. The team’s mechanics methodically took apart the front of the car, changed the part in record time, and hustled the Aston Martin to the grid.
Taking the green flag in the 39-car field, Abdolvahabi settled into a solid race pace quickly, battling for position and laying down consistent laps. Setting the team’s quick race lap of 1:29.118 on lap nine, he avoided multiple cars going off course or making contact, though the race ran caution-free his entire stint.
Making solid passes and taking advantage of issues with cars ahead, Abdolvahabi worked his way up to seventh position before coming to pit lane and handing the car to Carden.
“The car felt good; more than a little traffic to deal with, but it felt good,” said Abdolvahabi. “Surprisingly the whole stint went without a yellow which is kind of crazy for Road Atlanta, but I was doing my time so all in all, a good stint. Despite the cam shaft problem, it’s been a good weekend. Casey knows the place, it was great working with him. The team always comes together and gives a car to us that we can drive, and that’s all we can ask for.”
Carden figures he has “tens of thousands of miles” at Road Atlanta, having grown up in Braselton and raced at the track most of his life. He came out of pit lane P22, but unfortunately mired in the TCR field. But more unfortunately, Carden was hit from behind late in the race, going up through the Esses, nearly putting him off track and out of the race. He recovered quickly, though with a damaged car. With an outstanding effort, he brought the car home P23.
“When I came out of the pits, I didn't find my rhythm as fast as I would have liked and when you get caught up in a situation you shouldn't be in, things happen,” said Carden. “We got dealt a pretty cruel card with some contact and were just fortunate enough to bring it to the finish, because we don't quit and certainly at least wanted to deliver a finish for the team. It was a wonderful experience with a wonderful team. They brought a good car and did everything to provide a really good weekend for everybody involved. Everyone is super professional and I hope this isn't the last time.”
Carden and Automatic Racing team manager David Russell have known each other for the better part of a decade, and while disappointed with the result, Russell was pleased with the effort from both team and drivers.
“A large part of the race for us was getting the car to the grid because we learned last night that one of the cam shafts had gone awry, so we had to fix that,” said Russell. “It’s a fair amount of expose because we had to take the whole front of the car off to do that. I was really proud of the guys because they got that done in time and they got it done properly. Big thanks to Aston Martin with (Aston Martin motorsports partner/distributor) CSJ Motorsports and their guys, they were super helpful in that process. It was a good weekend all in all, a joy and pleasure to have Ramin and Casey with us.”
The Stoner Car Care team continues to support End Alzheimer’s Racing, carrying decals on the car to help their efforts to raise funds and awareness.
The Stoner Car Care Racing team will start the 2023 Michelin Pilot Challenge season at the Roar Before the Rolex 24, January 20-22.
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. https://automaticracing.com
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. http://act.alz.org/goto/endalzheimersracing