Automatic Racing drivers Brandon Kidd, Ramin Abdolvahabi and Ecklin combined to put the new-for-2019 Aston Martin through its paces on the historic 3.4-mile, 11-turn road course. As temperatures reached a peak near 90 degrees during Friday’s late afternoon qualifying session, Ecklin put down a personal best time at the Finger Lakes circuit with a lap of 1:57.259-seconds.
Ecklin’s father was a senior executive at Corning Enterprises when the local company joined International Speedway Corporation to form Watkins Glen International, which enabled the historic track to resume competition in 1984. Rob Ecklin Jr., who now lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, attended his first Skip Barber School at the track and began his racing career here in the school’s racing series. So to return behind the wheel of the No. 97 Stoner Car Care/Invisible Glass Aston Martin ranks as one of the season highlights.
“I came here many times to watch races as a child, and I’ve raced here a few times myself,” said Ecklin. “It’s very special, and it’s great to have my dad here this weekend. It has been an interesting two days of running here, as the conditions have changed quite a bit from yesterday to today, and lap times are very temperature-dependent. We made some adjustments between the final practice and qualifying, and it helped – though I think there’s still time out there as I work on brake points and line adjustments. The new Aston Martin corners better, but with 200 pounds more than the previous version, it doesn’t pull away from the apex as well, but overall, it’s quick.”
Ecklin Jr. isn’t the only driver with a built-in cheering section, as Syracuse resident Kidd is another driver on the roster who has a close connection to the event. He will have over 40 family and friends in attendance as well as support from local 315 Brewery.
"It is great to have so many people here this weekend, I’m really excited about the race and hopefully everyone has a good time this weekend,” said Kidd.
The race is one of two long-distance events on the 2019 calendar as the team looks forward to gaining new data and experience with the all-new Aston Martin with a strong run up the charts on Saturday.
“In a four-hour race, if you’re quick and steady, you’ll gain positions,” said Ecklin, Jr. “I’m hoping to be in the top 10 at the end of my stint. I know there’s a chance of rain, but I’m not one to pay too much attention to the weather: I’ve driven here in full wet so I’m not concerned. We’ll adjust to the conditions and hope we adjust better than our competitors!”
Supporting the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen weekend, the Tioga Downs Casino Resort 240 takes the green flag at 1:55 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, live on IMSA.tv. NBCSN will broadcast a two-hour race recap on Thursday, July 11 at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.
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 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 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.