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Apr 21, 2013 - 11:50 AM
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CORE Victorious At Long Beach
Posted by: newsla on Apr 21, 2013 - 11:46 AM
American Le Mans Series News
CORE Victorious At Long Beach


CORE autosport earned its third-straight American Le Mans Series Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire victory at the Grand Prix of Long Beach on the strength of a one-stop fuel strategy and flawless pit work.

 

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Starting from second on the PC grid, Jon Bennett kept the No. 05 ORECA FLM09 in the runner up spot until a full-course caution 15 minutes into the two-hour race. Bennett fell a spot, to third, on the frantic restart, but kept pace with the leaders until a second full-course caution was issued.

The team called the No. 05 in for a pit stop during the second caution period. Even with full service and a driver change, the crew was able to get Colin Braun out of the pits in second place. Moments after the restart, Braun took over the class lead.

After enduring a third and final caution period, the team briefly found itself in the overall lead with less than an hour remaining in the race—this despite operating in a fuel conservation mode with a goal to make it to the finish on one stop.

The overall lead was short lived, but Braun had a solid gap to the rest of the PC field, enabling him to continue to conserve fuel. The PC competition began to reel Braun in, in the closing stages of the race, but the No. 05 had what it needed to go the distance. Braun crossed the finish line third overall and 1.976 seconds ahead of the second-place PC car.

The Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach will air Sunday, April 21 at 1 p.m. ET on ABC.

CORE autosport now prepares for round three of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in Monterey, Calif., May 9 – 11.

Jon Bennett

“I’m really proud to be representing CORE autopsort. They worked really hard today and our team manager Morgan Brady did a great job. We had some great engineering work this weekend by Gary Davies.

“We got humbled in Sebring, so it was nice to come back with a strong weekend. I came here this weekend with a new attitude to push hard at every moment in the car, but, of course, at the start there’s a lot of things to factor in. I had a good start and was very aggressive.

“I used to watch this race on TV when it was a Formula 1 race. I never really thought about it because you can’t will a race win, you can only come here and do your best job. When the last seconds ticked down and Colin crossed the line with enough fuel it certainly was a special feeling.

“I get to go racing because of a company I own, Composite Resources. I get the independence to come race because of a great gentleman who keeps it running when I’m not there: Ralph Brown. I was distracted at Sebring because Ralph was ill and wasn’t doing very well. Ralph passed away about two weeks ago. I think maybe we were getting a little help from above. We all miss him terribly. He was our mascot this weekend.”

Colin Braun

“This was a great weekend for us. Jon did a heck of a job at the start of the race. He kept us close to the leaders. Then, the CORE guys did an awesome job in the pits and put us into the lead. From there, we saved fuel.

“It was a big challenge to save the fuel, but our team manager Morgan Brady and engineer Gary Davies did a great job feeding me the information that I needed to know. I think my days in NASCAR taught me how to save fuel and it worked out in the end. It was really, really close. It was important for me to know the gap at the end and those guys did a great job keeping me updated.

“It was pretty cool to lead an ALMS race overall. It felt like we were out front for a long time and I started thinking for a minute that maybe we could win the race overall, but then the P1 cars got by us.

“It was certainly a fun, cool race. Like Jon said, this one was definitely for Ralph. He was a big part of our organization and was deep in our thoughts today. He’s watching over us every time we’re out there. It’s good to have him on our side.”

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