The weekend got off to a strong start with Braun qualifying the No. 56 GRC Lites car in fourth and Bennett seventh in the No. 54. This separated the teammates into different heat races. Bennett finished fourth in Saturday’s heat while Braun finished second in his group after leading much of the race.
On Sunday, Braun and Bennett both won their heat races, a GRC career-first for Bennett. The teammates then went on to finish fourth in their respective semi-finals, which meant they would both skip the LCQ and move straight to the final, another first for Bennett.
Rain was threatening, but held off for the final, where Bennett started seventh and Braun eighth.
Braun had an excellent start in the final and was quickly up to fifth. He held station there until the final lap when he moved up one more spot to finish fourth.
Contact slowed Bennett down at the start, but he gradually picked off positions in the second half of the 10-lap race. He crossed the finish line in fifth behind his teammate. It was Bennett’s best GRC Lites finish to date.
The GRC Lites action from Louisville will air on NBC Sports Network, Wednesday, May 24, at 5pm ET.
CORE autosport will have the Memorial Day weekend off before heading to Detroit, Michigan, to race on the streets of Belle Isle as part of the latest IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round.
No. 56 Composite Resources/ORECA Gear
“The Louisville track was pretty straightforward; there wasn’t a whole lot to it technically, which is what I think made the qualifying and races so close. It was a hard track to pass on though; you had to make bold, aggressive moves. We saw a lot of contact and side-by-side racing.
“I got a pretty good start in the first heat and led some of that. Cyril Raymond and I had a good fight in the first heat and another tight battle in heat two. He beat me in the first one and I beat him in the second one.
“We were looking pretty good up until the semi-final. I had a rough and tumble semi, which is unfortunate because that sets the grid for the main, so I lined up eighth in the main. I managed to charge up to fourth, but that was all the time we had.
“I’m really excited about our results, because all our guys did a good job with the cars and we’re getting better and better as a team. Jon’s performance was awesome this week! I think we’ve shown that when we finally have a little bit of racing luck fall our way, we’ll be up there contending for wins for sure.”
No. 54 Composite Resources/ORECA Gear
“It was a good weekend all around. We had a very productive test outing in Charlotte and arrived with a strong setup on the car. We unloaded the trucks and rolled out to the grid all sorted and that’s always a good start to the event!
“Colin and I learned the track pretty quickly and I think took to some of the nuances faster than our competitors. Plus, the guys on both the No. 54 and No. 56 did a stellar job getting the cars prepared and fixing any crash damage between heats. It was a very poised event for CORE and it showed in our performance.
“My win in the second heat was partly due to a really good start. Then, I was able to maintain my composure through the whole race without giving my competitors an opening. It was a flag-to-flag win and I think getting your first heat win takes a little bit of pressure off. I think more heat wins are to come.
“In the first corner of the final, I saw an opportunity to pick up a couple of places and stuck my nose down the inside where I thought I had a good opportunity to pass two cars. Unfortunately, the car I was trying to pass either didn’t get good spotting information or was being super aggressive, and we all collided. Fortunately, all three of us continued. My bodywork was in bad shape, but the structural part of the car was fine. I looked for a couple openings, picked off cars each lap and ended up P5.
“It was very much a coming of age event for our whole team and I think Colin and I are both in a fortunate position to be looking for our first win or my first podium in the next couple of races!”