Center of Subaru Motorsports USA visited by Bangor racing veteran

Episode 285

October 13, 2019

Bangor rally racer at Subaru Motorsports open house

Vermont Sports Car, Milton, Vermont opened their doors to the public at their new Subaru Motorsports USA facility. (Vermont Sports Cars photo)

As reported last week, the Vermont Sports Car Subaru Motorsports USA held an open house at their new facility in Milton, Vermont on Saturday. Long time Subaru rally racer, John Cassidy of Bangor made the five-hour trip to not only see the new race shop, but to also look over the huge garage sale of discontinued or unnecessary race parts.

John Cassidy’s most prized acquisition at the Vermont Sports Car garage sale is the late Dave Mirra fender. (John Cassidy photo)

The Vermont Sports Car/Subaru Motorsports specially built engine for competition in the American Rally Cross (ARX) series. The new powerful yet durable engine netted Subaru 4 overall victories in 2019 versus zero wins in previous seasons. (John Cassidy photo)

Fabricated rear crossmember for the rallycross cars displaying the meticulous workmanship exhibited by the technicians at Vermont Sports Cars. Most of the team are Vermont natives. (John Cassidy photo)

Box of shocks at the garage sale at Vermont Sports Cars. Unfortunately none of these expensive shocks were of no use by Cassidy. (John Cassidy photo)

WAR back in North Carolina

Wyatt Alexander Racing back in Hickory, North Carolina for the PRA/SMRS Super Late Model Fall Brawl 125. Left to right Bob Bolles,Dean Clattenburg, Brett Alexander,Adam Sturgill,Travis Sturgill,and Daniel Stolte (Brenda Meserve Photography)

Crew chief Bob Alexander commented that, “We were happy with the results at Hickory. The car was consistent, not quite as quick as the rest of the field as we were the only crate engine powered car competing.

The rest of the field was powered by various “built” engine combinations producing from 150 to 200 more horsepower. The rules package for this tour required us to carry the same weight as the built engine cars. The advantage of the crate engine in a longer race is reduced tire wear in the later stages of the race which usually equates to the car being faster then.

That being said, however, after about 10 laps Wyatt was turning lap times equal to the leader. He moves up from a 12th place start to 8th in short time.  We were happy with our performance. It was only a 15 car field but it was a strong field with great competition. They ran all 125 laps without a caution. We were hopeful for a caution in order to close up the field in the later stages but it didn’t happen. The car survived without damage other than some to the front bumper when 2 cars checked up in front of Wyatt.”

A leaking master cylinder created slippery conditions for driver Wyatt Alexander when the fluid leaked into the footbox area. The team finished 8th. Their next race is the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) race at Seekonk October 26, 2019.


Jon Bennett and CORE Autosports done

CORE Autosports surprised team owner Jon Bennett with a throwback theme commemorating Bennett’s early days of IMSA racing. Bennett commented, ““Pulling my gloves off at the Petit Le Mans will mark the successful conclusion of an incredible motorsports journey. I have competed in wheel-to-wheel sports car racing for 28 consecutive seasons. From the beginning, racing has been my beacon and has shaped most of my life decisions. My dream goals were made possible by the extraordinary team who has surrounded me – with a special thank you to Colin Braun.” (CORE Autosports photo)

After 10 years in IMSA racing, Jon Bennett has reached his goals as a driver and called it quits for the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) race team. Bennett, late this summer, announced the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta this weekend would be the final for his team which he disbanded.

The CORE Autosports team will continue to field the two Porsche America 911 RSR in 2020 at their Rock Hill, South Carolina race shop. Bennett was able to use many of his DPi mechanics at that shop. Team engineer Jeff Braun and his Colin are making plans to race elsewhere with no announcements as of publishing time today.

CORE Autosports driver/owner Jon Bennett walking to team pits at Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona 2019. At Daytona I was able to interview Bennett for later episode. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Petit Le Mans concludes CORE’s 10th season in IMSA, during which it has amassed:

  • 46 race wins
  • 130 podiums
  • 42 poles
  • 10 team championships
  • 9 driver championships

Bennett’s parents are both residents of New Sweden, Maine. Bennett was born in Fort Knox, Kentucky when his father was in the Army. The family moved around several times while Bennett’s father, Richard, worked at a myriad of locations primarily with DuPont.

The season long journey from Daytona to Road Atlanta

In January my brother Bill and I covered the first race of the IMSA 2019 championship, The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. The race was stopped early due to rain at the track. Both of us were cold and wet yet had a great time. The full report was in episode 249, January 29, 2019.

It was there that I first met Jon Bennett face to face at Daytona after talking to him on the phone a couple of times prior. I also met with a long time acquaintance Grant Weaver shop manager with Ganassi Racing Ford GT program which was going away at the end of the current season.

At Daytona, Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac #10 won the DPi class while the Rahal Letterman Lanigan BMW was the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class. By season end neither of the teams was near the top in their respective classes. Wayne Taylor Racing finished 4th in DPi class and the RLL team placed 6th.

Penske Acura ARX-05 at the Horseshoe on the back stretch at Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in January 2019. The lead car is the team car #6 that won the DPi title. (HTF Motorsports photo)

The  Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi team with drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron was able to win the team championship at Road Atlanta with a 4th place. This allowed the #6 team to beat the #31 Cadillac driven by Pipo Derani, Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran by 5 points despite the #31 winning the race.

IMSA changes mean a new look for 2020

The 2020 IMSA season will look much different than 2019 highlighted by these several changes:

  1. The end of the four-year commitment of Ford with the GTLM program car, the Ford GT at Chip Ganassi Racing.

    The shop area at Ganassi Racing in Indianapolis will look much different in 2020 with the departure of Ford. Privateers may campaign one or more of the cars in IMSA. (Ford Racing photo)

    2) The CORE Autosports DPi team will not be contesting the DPi class after a lackluster time with  Nissan Ligier. The team will now concentrate on repeating as GTLM champion with the Porsche RSR factory team.

    3) The Mustang Sampling #5 Cadillac team announced they are getting out of DPi in 2020 leaving only the #13 team to contest the season series.

Mustang Sampling #5 Cadillac in Gatorade Victory Lane as the overall winner at Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona 2018. (HTF Motorsports photo)

4)The end of the front engine Corvette race car, the C7R. The mid engine C8              R will be campaigned by Pratt & Miller who have been racing the Corvette for              Chevrolet since 1997.

Drawing of the two Corvette C8R that will be raced in 2020. The mid engine car will feature 80% of the stock Corvette parts with the chassis made on the Corvette assembly line in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The number 3 car will feature the traditional yellow with the #4 sports a silver paint scheme representing the new edition Vette. (Chevy Racing drawing)

Photo of the week

Toyota Yaris Team Gazoo in action at World Rally Championship at Wales Great Britain 2019. (Courtesy McKlein Photography)

Let’s Go Racing,

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:16)

Tom Hale

About Tom Hale

Tom wrote 14 years as freelancer for the Bangor Daily Sports covering motorsports in Maine. Now blogging and concentrating on human interest stories about people and places in racing. He races Champ Karts and owns HTF Motorsports in remote Westmanland, Maine