Thursday, October 5, 2017

Ten days ago, Al Carter celebrated his 51st birthday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with a bang! He won his first IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race, since he started racing in that series in 2010.

Four years after winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona in the GTD class, Carter collected another very popular win in California, with the Automatic Aston Martin Racing team and co-driver Steven Phillips, in the four-hour Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Laguna Seca Sept. 23.

Carter’s success started to take shape at Watkins Glen International Raceway July 1, when he was leading the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race, with one lap to go, and touched with a competitor. He spun and saved the car in an outstanding racing move, but missed the win he really deserved and finished eighth.

Carter had 84 summer days to think about the lost Watkins Glen victory and that final lap. Before starting the race in round 9 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Carter, who never missed an opportunity to promote himself, his team, sponsors and the series, organized a live video streaming on Facebook, during which he interviewed most of the race-winning contenders who qualified ahead of him on the grid. Ironically, not many of his driver friends really thought the 51 year-old would take his No. 99 Aston Martin Vantage to victory lane, but, ironically, he did and was able this time to win his third big IMSA victory.

The driver from Greenville, Delaware, competed in only nine Continental Tire races between 2016 and 2017. All ran on tracks that Carter loves and excels in the most, including Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen, Laguna Seca and Road Atlanta.

This weekend, Carter returns to Road Atlanta in Georgia to take his 58 starts in the Continental Tire SportsCar Championship. Carter has great memories of the Road Atlanta racetrack, where he was crowned 2013 Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup GTD driver champion, his first professional driver championship.

“We're heading to the final round of the 2017 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series this week at Road Atlanta, and for the first time, I return as last race winner!” Carter said. “What a feeling of accomplishment and respect. Steve Phillips and I, plus the whole Automatic team, enter this event with smiles and confidence. Don't think for a second we haven't worked or prepared just as hard as we do for every race. Just like the competition in the IMSA CTSCC, Road Atlanta is a tough and fast circuit. Our Stoner Car Care Aston Martin escaped Laguna Seca with the checkered flag and only a few, minor race battle scars. Our Aston Martin should like the elevation changes at Road Atlanta, so we're hoping to be right there in the battle for the win. Steve and I have spent more time diagnosing the track's new surface patches and preparing our race lines, more than any race prior.”

“Also I am pleased to announce some additional partners joining Stoner Car Care on the car this week at Atlanta: BarVision, a super slick and intelligent tool for grabbing more ROI for your restaurant or bar, and, a securities trading and timing site, whose software creates powerful market- timing signals.”

Carter will compete in the round-10 season finale of the 2017 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge with co-driver Phillips. Both drivers will be behind the wheel of the No. 99 Automatic Racing Invisible Glass/BarVision/Stoner Car Care Products Aston Martin Vantage. After winning the race at Laguna Seca, Carter and Phillips will look for another win on Friday at a track that should be good for their V8 Aston Martin power.

The Fox Factory 120 race will be televised on Fox Sports 1 on Sunday, Oct. 15, from 7 to 9 a.m. EDT.

To follow Al Carter at Road Atlanta:

Thursday, Oct. 5: Practice 1 at 9:50 a.m. and Practice 2 at 2:10 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 6:  Practice 3 at 8 a.m., followed by GS qualifying at 8:45 a.m. The two-hour Fox Factory 120 race is set to start at 1:50 p.m. (all EDT).