Continued Progress for Stoner Car Care Racing at Sebring

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Stoner Car Care Racing team fielded by Automatic Racing continued its learning curve with the new No. 97 Invisible Glass Aston Martin Vantage GT4, battling hard throughout the two-hour Alan Jay 120, race two of the 2019 MICHELIN Pilot Challenge and part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Racing in the premier Grand Sport (GS) class, drivers Ramin Abdolvahabi (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and Rob Ecklin, Jr. (Lancaster, Penn.) went into the day having made gains in traction control and braking, both necessary elements to manage Sebring International Raceway’s 3.74-miles of bumpy concrete and asphalt.  Abdolvahabi, who had qualified the car in 19th position, took the green flag for what would turn out to be chaotic early going.

An incident between two cars saw that first lap end under caution, and on the ensuing restart, Abdolvahabi slid into the tires in Turn 10 when another car put a nose inside. He was able to return to the fray, but now a lap down. Ecklin took the wheel with 1:15 remaining in the sprint race as the team worked toward getting the lap back. 

Making a calculated gamble with 40 minutes remaining and having Ecklin pit for fuel only, the team missed out on getting that lap back by the slimmest of margins when the leader exited pit lane just ahead. The strategy did place Ecklin in the thick of the lead battles, with he and the Aston Martin acquitting themselves well in the late stages of the race. When the checkered flag fell, the Invisible Glass Aston Martin had gained positions to finish in 19th position.

“I’m proud of the team for the hard work and determination today,” said Russell. “Ramin battled back after his incident, and Rob really showed what the Aston Martin can do against the competition. We learned a great deal in every single session with the new car, so we’ll take all this data back to the shop and come out swinging at Mid-Ohio.”

The NBCSN two-hour race recap of the Alan Jay 120 will air on Thursday, March 28 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. The Stoner Car Care Racing team will be back in action at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course May 3-5.