ORLANDO, Fla. (28 July 2020) –When IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge teams ordinarily head to Road America, it usually marks the launch of the second half of the season. But in a year that has seen racing schedules turned upside down due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Stoner Car Care Racing fielded by Automatic Racing team heads to historic Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for just its third race of the 2020 season, the Road America 120 (Saturday, TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold, 4:45pm ET).
With driver schedules also impacted by the racing season’s adjustments, the Stoner Car Care team fields a sole Aston Martin Vantage GT4 this weekend, the No. 99 Invisible Glass entry. Rob Ecklin Jr. (Lancaster, Pa.) and Ramin Abdolvahabi (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) return to the iconic livery with the hopes of capturing that elusive top 10 finish in Saturday’s two-hour event, part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s SportsCar Weekend at Road America.
The new-for-2019 Aston Martin qualified third and was headed to a solid finish in last year’s Road America race until torrential rains threw the finish into havoc late in the race. Similarly, the season opener at Sebring saw a 75-minute weather delay as the rapidly changing conditions cost the team a solid outcome. With several team members hailing from the Elkhart Lake area, the group has added incentive to achieve that breakthrough finish.
Ecklin, in his 10th year with the Automatic Racing team, will compete in just his third race at Road America, but like most drivers, considers the legendary circuit to be a season highlight.
“Six months was definitely too long to be away from the racetrack, so we’re happy to only have two weeks between Sebring and Road America,” said Ecklin.
“We have a few members of the team who live in the area, so we enjoy that part of it,” said Automatic Racing team manager David Russell. “We had a good package there last year, qualifying third and running in the lead so we’re very excited to head up there.”
The Midwest is known for its unpredictable weather during the summer, so the team will be prepared to manage whatever circumstances the track presents during two days of practice, qualifying and racing.
“We’re going to try a few different setups on the car through the Friday practice sessions, because we think we should be closer to the top 10 in pace,” said Ecklin. “At Sebring, it was more driver than car, but I hope that getting back in the car again quickly will help our progress.”
“It’s a different kind of racetrack for us, a medium to low-grip surface that’s fairly aggressive on the tires, so sustaining a competitive lap time over the long run will be key,” said Russell. “The race has the potential to go green the whole way so balance over the long haul is the primary goal.”
“We had some good moments at Road America last year, so definitely hoping we can recapture that,” said Abdolvahabi. “The Aston Martins are quick everywhere, but they seem to really do a good job there in particular. The plan is to have a clean race and get that top 10 finish. I really think we were headed to a good finish at Sebring – top 10 at the very least, if not a top 5, so definitely looking for redemption from that.”
Road America will open its doors to fans this weekend, the first IMSA race of the season that will host unlimited spectators – though IMSA continues to screen team and series personnel before entry into the facility and PPE must be worn, in alignment with CDC guidelines.
The Road America 120 takes the green flag Friday at 4:45 p.m. Eastern. The race will be broadcast live in the U.S. on NBC Sports Gold’s TrackPass, while international viewers can watch via IMSA.tv. IMSA Radio will also be available at IMSA.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 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
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.