INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 25, 2014) – CORE autosport rebounded from an early setback at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to finish third at the Brickyard Grand Prix, the latest round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Colin Braun and Jon Bennett were looking forward to starting their first race at Indianapolis from the pole position in the Prototype Challenge category, but unfortunately, when Bennett missed the entrance to pit-in during the pre-race procedures, race officials directed him to start the No. 54 from the back of the grid.
Undeterred, Bennett put his head down and after 35 minutes of racing, including two re-starts from yellow, he had the No. 54 ORECA FLM09 from 10th to sixth in class. His position was further boosted by the excellent pit work of the CORE autosport crew, which advanced him into fifth during the third full-course yellow.
The third full-course yellow was especially long owing to track repairs. The minimum drive time for silver-rated drivers elapsed during this caution period, causing another slew of pit stops for the PC cars. This gave the CORE crew another chance to shine; even with a driver change to Braun, the team was able to pick up another spot in the pits. When the race finally returned to green, Braun was P4.
He wasn’t fourth for long. Three minutes after the restart, Braun was in the PC lead. The lead turned out to be short-lived for the No. 54, however, as Braun was reeled back in as he struggled to fight through traffic. This combined with a need to conserve fuel prohibited a late-race charge and Braun inevitably crossed the finish line in third-place.
The podium finish was more than enough to maintain the team’s lead in the PC Championship with four rounds remaining.
Next up for CORE autosport is the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase, Aug. 8 – 10.
“My day started with a very bad, unforced error on the reconnaissance lap. Unfortunately, I missed pit entry and found myself with an extra recon lap. For that, we got to start at the back of the field.
“At that point, what’s done is done. I did my best to focus and fix the situation as best I could before Colin got back in the car. I drove really hard, and we also got a couple fortunate breaks with a couple well-placed yellow flags and caution periods. I handed the car over to Colin in a competitive spot on the lead lap. I think Colin did the best job he could with the car. I think it was the kind of day where the handling was constantly changing, and it was a little bit of a struggle. All-in-all, it was a good day for CORE.
“Racing in Indy is big. I tried not to think of it too much during the event because it is so overwhelming. It was an absolute joy. The configuration of our circuit was very conducive to good racing, and I really enjoyed our time here. To wake up in the morning and find yourself at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a very special event.
“Our team understands what it’s like to be a little bit behind. I don’t think we ever panic, and we have confidence that things are going to turn out okay. I think we got the best result we could today. And, quite honestly, it was a good day for chasing the championship, so I’m quite happy with that.”
– JON BENNETT
“Jon did a good job starting the car. I jumped in the car under that long, lengthy caution. Soon after returning to green, Gunnar [Jeannette] spun out right in front of me, but luckily I missed crashing into him.
“I had the lead for a little bit, but we just didn’t have the outright pace. I was struggling in traffic. We just got beat. Some other PC guys came here to test and picked the tire to run on, so I’m sure that also helped their program. We weren’t far off. A few tenths over a long green flag run like that though and you end up just a little behind.
“We just had so much rubber off line that as soon as you went to pass a GT car you had a bunch of pick up. It was really slick and hard to get the rubber back off, so it made it really like one-groove racing and it had tight, slow corners, which leads to bumper-to-bumper racing until you can get a little bit of a run and get past them on the straight away.”
“It was a good day for points though. We extended our lead a little bit more since the No. 8 car had a problem, and he was our closest competitor there. All in all that’s a positive for us for sure.
“We had a solid day. It certainly wasn’t great, and it certainly wasn’t terrible. Everyone did a good job, and we executed well. Some days that’s all you have. The guys did a good job on pit row. Jon did a good job driving. We had a fast car. It just wasn’t quite enough. That’s the way it goes, you can’t win them all.”
– COLIN BRAUN