CORE takes back-to-back PC team titles

August 18, 2012

CORE takes back-to-back PC team titles

August 18, 2012

With a one-two finish at today’s Road America Road Race Showcase, CORE autosport clinched the 2012 American Le Mans Series Prototype Challenge team championship title – back-to-back victories for the Rock Hill, SC-based team.

Victory by Tom Kimber-Smith and Alex Popow and a runner-up finish by Colin Braun and John Bennett gave CORE the team’s title again with three races remaining.

Kimber-Smith, starting the #06 machine in second place, wasn’t sure if his co-driver Alex Popow was actually going to arrive in time for the race.  Popow was in Montreal this morning taking the wheel of a GRAND-AM Daytona Prototype, chasing a championship in that series as well.  After Popow’s stint driving the DP car, he took a helicopter, plane and car to Road America, and after arriving had approximately four minutes to breathe before taking over from Kimber-Smith at the 47 minute mark of the race.

Popow was able to turn the No.06 back over to Kimber-Smith in second spot a bit after the halfway point of the race, and Kimber-Smith brought the car home in a hard-fought first place (fifth overall behind the faster P1 and P2 class cars).

In the #05 car, team owner and founder Jon Bennett started the race with a teammate present, but also with a car in the back of the field.  Due to a mechanical issue that prevented the No.05 car from participating in Friday’s qualifying session, Bennett took the green flag in seventh spot in the PC class, but 33rd overall, well behind slower GT and GTC cars.

Bennett quickly sliced his way through the field and cleared slower traffic in less than 20 minutes.  Hustling as hard as he could, Bennett turned the #05 over to Braun after an hour and a half, setting Braun off in seventh spot. Hard charging pushed the No.05 car back up to the runner-up position.

“I didn’t think it was going to be possible to win back-to-back championships when I met Morgan [Brady, team manager] three years ago and told him that I had a plan to start a race team.  But I didn’t own any tools and didn’t have a facility,” team owner, Bennet said.

“Morgan was nice to consider my offer and he’s built an outstanding team with excellent mechanics, engineers and a world-class driver lineup.  To see the team’s hard work materialize in a championship this early in the season is just fantastic.

“I do have to admit that as a team owner, at the end of the race it was a little frightening to see some of the best drivers in the business – Colin and Tom – go head-to-head on the track with my cars.  They acted like adults today although they reminded me of two kids racing shopping carts in a grocery store.  They didn’t give each other an inch but they did a great job bringing home both cars in first and second.

“As we move on, the driver championship will definitely be every man for himself. It’ll be fun, tight and serious over the next three races in the 2012 ALMS season.”

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