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AutoTechnic Racing takes on the challenges of building newly classified cars

AutoTechnic Racing 2005 New Milford, CT.

At the end of the 2004 season the team decided to sell the race proven and championship winning E-36 chassis cars and replace them with the E-46 1999 BMW 323i sedans. Starting in November, there was lots of promise for a repeat performance in 2005. There were lots of unknowns going into the first ever build of this newly classified car. After lots of hurdles, lots of fabrication and lots of time the cars have proven to be very difficult to build to our extreme standards. It is now mid season, the weather is warm and the cars are nearly completed.

The team is planning on its first test day sometime near the end of June and we are looking forward to our first race of the season July 9 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Check back for more updates - See you at the track!

AutoTechnic - NARRC / SCCA New England Region ITS Champions!!

It's hard to celebrate a series win when a teammate's season ends with an uneccessary wreck, but that's where team AutoTechnic found itself this Saturday at the end of the NARRC Championships.

The weekend began with high hopes for the core of Team AutoTechnic, drivers Jeff Henderson #52, and Rob Driscoll #25. The two had run a very hard but successful season, each in contention for the coveted NARRC Championship. In fact, the very outcome of the race would indeed determine the series champion. You want to see a close points race ladies and gentlemen?? Look no further than the SCCA's ITS Class in the NAARC Series (North Atlantic Road Racing Championship).

After qualifying, it looked like the more of the same: Henderson, Driscoll, and Flatout Motorsport's Nick Leverone making up the top 3 positions. Henderson took the pole with a personal best of 1:01 flat, followed by Driscoll w/ a 1:01.5, then Leverone (1:01.6). Autotechnic's John Stewart in the #11 was gridded 5th. At the drop of the green, Henderson again managed an amazing jump, putting a few car lengths between he and Driscoll. Leverone also managed to get the best of Driscoll, sneaking under the #25 to grab 2nd. Stewart, in the #11, had a strong start, advancing into 4th, just on the heels of the 1-2-3 pack led by Henderson. From there the raced settled into 1-2-3 train of Henderson, Leverone, and Driscoll. Stewart managed to stay close to the pack, but was unable to catch it, and fell back a few car lengths...Henderson meanwhile, continued his charge until a slight bobble in the fast downhill sweeper gave teammate Driscoll an opportunity for a pass to take the lead as Leverone had to get on the binders to avoid contact with Henderson. That left Driscoll in the lead for 2 laps until the flying lead pack began to encounter lapped traffic around lap 8. The 3 swamped a slow moving Mazda RX-7 in the left hander, making for a hair raising moment for the crowd watching from the hill at Limerock Park. Exiting the esses, Driscoll and Leverone opted for the outside to pass, as the confused Mazda back-marker moved back and forth. That gave Henderson an opportunity for an inside pass and a shot to regain the lead. It looked like Henderson just might pull the risky pass off when the Mazda driver moved over to the right, making contact with Henderson's #52. That put Henderson off into the wet grass on a very fast part of the track. Henderson was unable to bring the car to a safe stop, and the car made contact with the tire wall. Henderson was shaken but not injured, with his #52 suffering relatively minor damage given the nature of the crash.

That incident brought out a full course yellow, and gave the pack time to re-group. That could have been Stewart's opportunity to re-join our front runners from his now 3rd position, but again lapped traffic between our lead 2 cars prevented Stewart from making any sort of bid for the lead on the re-start. When the green dropped for the second time, Driscoll held the lead for 2 more laps, but Leverone got a good run coming down the hill and managed to catch the #25 under braking with about 4 laps to go. Leverone managed to hold off Driscoll for the remainder of the race, Driscoll taking second position yet gained enough points to capture the NARRC Championship. Stewart rounded out the podium taking 3rd position.

Driscoll's finish secured him the Championship and gave the team 7 wins in the 2004 season. We congratulate Rob on a job well done and his first NARRC Championship!

Driscoll thus finished the season with 2 wins at Pocono, and 4 second place finishes at Limerock. Despite the crash this weekend, Henderson's 4 wins at NHIS and one at Limerock in May gave Jeff the overall SCCA New England Region Championship! Stewart managed to capture one win at Limerock in August, but struggled with several mechanical issues throughout the season leaving him with 3 DNF's out of 6 races. Overall, that gives Team Autotechnic 8 wins and 13 podium finishes for the '04 season.

While this Limerock race ends the team's season at the home track, Stewart intends to continue campaigning the #11 at Watkins Glen on 10/17th, and then running the AARC championship races 11/6th and 11/7th at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia. Stay tuned for those updates right here after each race!

Henderson sweeps Cheap Date Double at NHIS

Race One:
The weekend started out well for both Auto Technic drivers as Henderson qualified on the pole driving a personal best 114.50 after picking up a draft from Driscoll who qualified second. With perfect weather and a fast track hopes were high for a 1-2 sweep. At the start of the race Henderson held the lead while Nick Leverone of Flatout Motorsports was charging hard from his fifth position on the grid. Henderson held off the fast Mazda for the win. Driscoll held third for the first portion of the race until a re-occurring sputtering problem cost him a position finishing fourth.

Race Two:
Looking for a repeat performance from race one, Henderson managed to get around pole sitter Leverone on the first lap. Driscoll, starting from an uncharacteristic sixth position, was able to move up to fourth before the ever constant sputter (later determined to be a failing alternator) became terminal causing him to end his race on lap six. Running the south chicane caused Leverone's Mazda to overheat and lose power leaving Henderson out front for an easy win. Both wins put Henderson as the man to beat for the championship at the upcoming finale at the teams home track, Lime Rock Park, October 2.

Henderson takes his first win at Limerock!!!

Jeff Henderson earned his long awaited win #1 at Limerock Park, driving the #52 AutoTechnic BMW 325is. Henderson had been knocking on the door of a win at his home track for almost 2 seasons, and finally took it in style on this cool and sunny Saturday. Adding to the team's great day, Rob Driscoll in the #25, took 2nd place, in his usual smooth and error free style.

John Stewart, coming off a disappointing DNF at Watkins Glen, added to his up and down season with another DNF, after being spun and then taken out by polesitter Nick Leverone in his Flatout Motorsports Mazda RX-7 on lap 4....

The weekend began with some uncertainties for Team Autotechnic. Tire supply problems at Goodyear forced the team to order another tire from a different supplier, leaving Henderson and Stewart to do some guesswork on the set-up. Driscoll had a backup set of the trusty Goodyears to run. After practice, the team had mixed feeling about the new tire, but felt that there were some positives. Henderson seemed to get it right in qualifying, laying down a 1.01.7 at the end of the session, to nab the outside pole, just .04 behind Nick Leverone in the Flatout Motorsports RX-7. Driscoll was close behind in 3rd, while Stewart seemed to struggle with the new tires, and ended up in 5th, a few spots back of his usual qualifying effort.

At the drop of the green, the BMW's swamped the field into turn one, with Henderson literally riding the bumper of Leverone's Mazda for the entire lap. Driscoll was close on Henderson's heels, with Stewart edging inside of Ed Tisdale's BMW 325 in turn one to take 4th. Coming down the diving turn to finish lap one, Henderson was glued to the Mazda's bumper, with Driscoll and Stewart right behind. With Henderson pushing hard, Leverone committed a fatal and uncharacteristic error, overcooking the entrance of Big Bend, carrying too much speed and sliding off toward the exit of the turn. That forced Driscoll hard on the binders, allowing Stewart to sneak to the inside and grab 2nd for a brief moment. Pushing hard to catch Henderson, Stewart himself committed a fatal error, losing control of his #11 on the exit of the esses and went off to the outside. That allowed Driscoll to regain 2nd, leaving Stewart to battle the middle of the pack after he managed to re-enter the track somewhere deep in the field of 24-odd cars. After re-entering the field, Stewart began flying around backmarkers like a 911 Turbo on the Autobahn, but a large clump of cars prevented him from bettering his position, allowing the surely aggravated Leverone to close in. A nice battle ensued between Stewart and Leverone for the next few laps, when in the left hander Stewart again got a little sloppy allowing Leverone to get just underneath. The cars briefly touched, moving Stewart sideways, and the ensuing contact with Leverone's RX-7 retired Stewart for the day with the #11 suffering some heavy rear end damage.

Meanwhile up at the front, Henderson and Driscoll may have well been at a Driver's Ed event, peeling off flawless laps, with Henderson leading Driscoll by about 5 car lengths. But track officials felt that Stewart's car needed to be removed from the edge of the track, so Limerock's Dodge Ram pace truck picked up our leaders mid-race for a re-start while they removed the crippled #11.

On the restart, Henderson took no prisoners and gunned it as the green dropped for the second time, with Driscoll a few lengths back and a cluster of mid-packers fighting for third, including the original polesitter Leverone. It looked like the Mazda might reach the podium, but a few laps later in West bend another BMW got the best of the Mazda, when Mike Salbotela in his E-30 325 made contact with Leverone at the apex, putting the Mazda into the tire wall and ending a very nice climb back to the leaderboard. That action left our 2 frontrunners to finish out the race 1st and 2nd, with Henderson taking his 2nd checker of the season, and his first at Limerock, and Driscoll taking yet another podium finish. Dave Maynard in his 325is rounded out the podium, avoiding the mid-pack melees capturing 3rd position.

"The car felt great,"Henderson said after the finish."I felt like I could really control the car under braking..."Of his second place drive, the ever polite yet curt Driscoll just replied"Niiiiiicee!!!"Stewart appeared not to be in the mood for an interview, but when we finally caught up with him he had this to say..."Well, I guess it's payback from the last race....No, I'm kidding -- I watched Nick's video... yeah we touched, I spun, he had no where to go... It would have been nice to have the team take a 1-2-3. I made a crucial error in the left hander, seemed like I might have slid on some oil - I don't know, the car just went straight off as I tried to turn back in toward the apex of the right hander for No-name....."

We congratulate Jeff"Hollywood"Henderson on his win, and Rob"Mr. Consistency"Driscoll on his 2nd place finish (making a podium or a win for Rob on every outing this season). Team AutoTechnic has now won 4 of the 6 SCCA North Atlantic Road Racing Championship races this season. Autotechnic also would like to congratulate Flatout Motorsport's Nick Leverone for posting an un-official ITS track record of 1.00.8. Look for Team Autotechnic in full force as they return to NHIS on 8/20 - 8/21......Don't' Miss it!!!

Team AutoTechnic takes a 1-2 finish at Limerock Park!

John Stewart, driving the #11 AutoTechnic BMW 325is, took his first win and the team's 4th win of the season. Stewart was fast out of the gate, qualifying 2nd on the grid behind the highly competitive Flatout Motorsports Mazda RX-7 of Nick Leverone. Jeff Henderson in the #52 qualified 3rd, while Driscoll in the #25 had trouble getting in a clean lap and started from the 5th position. At the drop of the green, it appeared that Stewart and Leverone were too concerned with one another getting the jump, allowing Henderson get off to his usual flying start, leapfrogging the two to take the lead. The running order was then Henderson, Leverone, and Stewart, with Driscoll close behind. The wagon train continued for 4 laps until Stewart got a good run on Leverone going into the diving turn, pulling even with the Mazda going into the braking zone for turn one. Stewart nosed inside of Leverone's RX-7 and the two exited Big Bend door handle to door handle. The two cars touched, and Stewart's heavier BMW prevailed, with Leverone's Mazda spinning to the outside of turn 2. That left Stewart and Driscoll following Henderson, who had capitalized on Stewart's contact to stretch his lead to several seconds. From there it appeared that the race might unfold as an AutoTechnic 1-2-3 sweep. But you never know with racing, and the usually bullet-proof engine of Henderson's BMW let go on lap 7, leaving Stewart in the lead with Driscoll putting the pressure on as the two threaded their way through the slower ITB class cars.

Despite a few close calls, Stewart managed stay in front of the hard charging Driscoll, and the two ended 1st and 2nd. Ed Tisdale, in his C-Tech Motorsports BMW 325, ran a clean and conservative drive, took 3rd place making an all BMW 325 podium.

It's a great win for the Team and my first win at Limerock! It's also nice to pick up some momentum after my disastrous weekend at Pocono, where my car was way off the pace due to engine management problems. Obviously, we were able to sort them out for today. The car felt awesome right off the trailer. AutoTechnic again put an awesome car under me. Rob had made some subtle suspension set-up changes that really worked for me. I'm really happy to contribute to the team's success this year.

Team Autoechnic now stands atop the SCCA ITS NAARC Championship with 4 series wins. Come watch the streak continue as the BMW's battle again at NHIS on 7/17th and 18th. Don't miss it!!!!

AutoTechnic Sweeps Pocono Double!

After being shown the checked flag at Lime Rock one week earlier, then reverting back one lap after a black flag to finish second, Rob Driscoll finally got his first official win.

Race 1:Driving the #25 Auto Technic BMW, Rob Driscoll started 4th on the ITS grid and 14th overall in a crowded group on the Long Course at Pocono. Rob quickly moved up to second on the first lap then patiently waited to the time was right and made the pass for the lead on the last lap after picking up a nice draft from Nick Leverone's Mazda RX-7. Jeff Henderson #52 rallied to finish 4th and John Stewart #11 ended early after contact in turn one with a Nissan SE-R.

Race 2:After qualifying on the Pole, Rob Driscoll led the field to start race two. The top three cars quickly got away from the field. Ben Phillips made a pass for the lead on turn 1 of the second lap allowing Nick Leverone to get by putting Driscoll back to third. On lap 2 Phillips lost his engine leaving Leverone leading Driscoll in a repeat battle from race one. On the last lap of the race, Driscoll got a good run down the back stretch and made the pass for the lead going into the chicane and was able to hold Leverone behind him finishing in the lead. Henderson battled back to finish third. Hats off to Nick Leverone for fast, clean racing.

AutoTechnic wins season Opener!

Jeff Henderson, driving the #52 Auto Technic BMW 325i won the season opener April 17 at New Hampshire International Speedway. After starting in sixth position, Henderson battled his way to the front and was able to hold off the competition to record the teams first victory on the competitions home track. Driving the #25 BMW 325is, Rob Driscoll finished on the podium in thrid position completeing an excellent opening to the 2004 season for the Auto Technic team. Come see the team on their home track, Lime Rock Park, on the Saturday May 8.


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