Jon Bennett and Colin Braun clawed their way from fifth on the Prototype Challenge grid to finish third at the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America. The podium finish helped CORE autosport open up a five point lead in the TUDOR United SportsCar PC Championship.
Starting in fifth, Bennett slipped to sixth on the opening lap but battled back with quick lap times and disciplined driving. The team made its first pit stop during the only yellow of the race. A quick stop by the crew helped Bennett beat the No. 52 out of the pits and reclaim fifth.
Bennett held his position on the restart and began his climb from there. The team caught a break and moved all the way to second when the No. 38 and No. 16 pitted while the No. 85 was stopped off track.
Later, Bennett was overtaken by the No. 52 and handed the car over to co-driver Colin Braun in a solid third-place position.
Braun returned to track in fifth at the race’s halfway point and began his quest for the podium. He fought his way up to third after passing the No. 16 and the No. 52. Braun briefly held second place, when the No. 38 pitted, but returned to third when he made his final pit stop of the race.
For the remainder of the race, Braun battled to close the gap on the top two PC contenders, but was unable to catch any more cars before the end of the two-hour and 40-minute race.
With two rounds remaining CORE leads the PC Team Championship by five points over PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports. Bennett and Braun hold the same lead in the Drivers’ Championship.
Up next for the No. 54 Composite Resources/Flex Box ORECA FLM09 is Round Nine at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, Sept. 17 – 19.
“We had a fantastically tuned car today. The car was flawless. I got some fortunate breaks in traffic and some situations with our competitors that allowed me to move up slowly over time. I’d say the biggest advantage we had was a superb pit stop that moved me up at least one spot. I just did my job in the cockpit, had great pit stops and a great handling car, and handed it off to Colin. Colin did a great job catching the leaders, but it just wasn’t enough time to make it a battle. Today was a great notch again toward another championship, and I look forward to COTA and Petit Le Mans.
– Jon Bennett
“We had good pace today. Jon did a great job in that first stint. It was fun and we had a really good racecar. Our engineer Tom Brown did a great job with our package. We chopped the delta to the leaders down a little bit, but we just didn’t have enough time to catch them. It’s good for our championship to get back on the podium, and there are a lot of positives to take out of the weekend.
“Both of the passes I made today for position on Tom [Kimber Smith] and [Matt] McMurry were bombing around the outside of them. They were certainly fun, and it was cool to roll her on the outside of guys and make a move.
– Colin Braun