Racer with Maine roots wins IMSA Road America race

Episode 372

August 29, 2021

IMSA racer with Maine roots wins at Road America

CORE Autosports’ Colin Braun, left and Jon Bennett celebrate in Victory Circle at Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. They won the IMSA LMP3 class Sunday with a 22 second margin. CORE Autosports must like the track because in 2018 the duo won the overall race when they ran their LMP2 car. (CORE Autosports photo)

Drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun teamed up to win the prestigious International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Weather Tech Sports Car Championship race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Bennett has family ties to Aroostook County which is almost like his second home.

Road America is where Bennett made his professional IMSA debut in 2010 in what was called the Prototype Lites class. Bennett qualified the CORE Autosports Crowdstrike Ligier LMP3 race car in first despite the wet conditions on Saturday. That seemed to set the tone for race day on Sunday. Pit strategy during the race made a huge difference in the outcome. I will let their post tell the story of the race.

“Excellent strategy set CORE autosport on a course for victory at Road America. A well-timed pit stop helped CORE leap the entire LMP3 field and take its second win of the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship.”

CORE Autosports team owner/driver Jon Bennett, pictured in lower right, qualified in despite wet conditions during the Saturday session. Bennett seemed to like the combination of long fast sections as well as tight hairpin curves on the 4.048- mile 14 turn course that features multiple elevation changes. (CORE Autosports collage photos)

“Starting from fourth on the grid, Bennett had an excellent start and was able to pick up a spot on the opening lap.”

“Shortly thereafter, CORE took advantage of an early full-course caution to pit Jon for a splash of fuel. But it was the second full-course yellow that changed everything. Bennett was able to duck onto pitlane before the caution came out and the pits were closed. He was the only LMP3 car to do so.”

“Colin got into the car during the stop and came out of the pits in fifth. The rest of the LMP3 field had to wait until the full-course yellow was over to pit. When the green flag came back out, they all came in and Braun took the lead.”

“Fortunately, there were no more full-course yellows and Braun, knowing he had the fuel to make it to the finish, was able to build an insurmountable gap to second place. Braun cruised to a 22.243-second victory.”

Team owner/driver Bennett remarked, “From inside the car, it’s hard to tell where you are relative to all the other cars, but it was a good start. I got inside the 74 and we were side-by-side going into Turn One. I was a skosh ahead and then we made contact. I fell back in line. Then it settled out and I was okay with where we were and just wanted to turn good lap times and make progress so we could hand over the car to Colin in a good spot.”

“The team made a great strategy to pull me in for that second stop, Colin and I had a great exchange and Colin road into the sunset.

“One of the great things about CORE is all Colin and I have to do is drive the car. The strategy is always handled perfectly. It’s basically ‘Simon Says.’ You follow directions and we usually have a happy ending.”

Bennett’s fellow driver Colin Braun remarked, “I was really excited about getting into P1. You never know how things will shake out when you come out of the pits under yellow. It was chaos because we decided to pit and the yellow came out, but we were pitting already. Once I got in and we cycled through the yellow, (race engineer) Tyler [Neff] said we were leading the race. I was happy, but it was straight to work. I pushed hard at times to build that gap and then was pretty cautious in traffic and tried to manage the gap the rest of the time and be smart about it.”

“I never want to say ‘we got this,’ until we cross the finish line, that will set you up for disappointment. The guys had great pit stops and we knew that we had a pretty good car. Once we got through that first run and I knew that we had good pace, I figured even if we had some restarts, we’d be okay.”

“I’m proud of the guys and proud of Jon. We’re kind of back in the championship hunt I think coming into the last race. It’s going to be exciting.”

The next race for the CORE Autosports team will be the season finale will be Petit LeMans at Michelin Raceway Park Road Atlanta November 11-13, 2021.

Pastrana shatters old hillclimb record

Aboard the carbon fiber bodied Subaru “Airslayer Global Takeover” Travis Pastrana on his way to record setting run at Mt. Washington Climb to the Clouds. The old record set by Pastrana in lower horsepower Subaru rally car in 2017 was 5:44.72. The new record is 5:28.670. (HTF Motorsports photo)

“New record in the books!” said Pastrana after his winning run. “This car is the perfect machine to do it. Coming off a second-place finish at Goodwood (Goodwood Festival of Speed, Sussex, England), I really wanted to set a new record here to show what the car could do in the right environment. Luckily, we really had good weather this year and I knew if I could get a clean run in, I’d have a great shot at the 5:44 time. So much fun and I can’t wait to do it again next time!”

After getting good news at start line, thumbs up from Vermont Sports Cars Dan Anctil Director of Subaru Motorsports USA. With Anctil is his wife, Michelle. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Finishing with the second fastest time overall was Cole Powelson, Utah, with a run of 6:07.31 racing a purpose-built Sierra Alpha (HTF Motorsports photo)

Travis Pastrana on left with Chris Duplessis discuss tactics for the Saturday morning practice session following rain showers. Duplessis decided to switch to rain tires for this run. A broken shift lever about 100 yards from the start ended his run. He repaired the motorcycle engine powered Cross Kart and finished third overall with a time of 6:17.063. He is the “Director of Fun” at Monticello Motor Club, Monticello, New York. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Bangor’s John Cassidy ponders his Subaru before race time. His race team, Last Ditch Racing went through much adversity to get the car ready after a blown engine at the New England Forest Rally a mere two weeks earlier. Fellow hillclimb entrant, Jimi Heyder, Randolph, Vermont, drove to New Jersey, picked up Cassidy’s new engine and delivered it to the Bangor race shop. Cassidy IV with co-driver/son John Cassidy V finished fourth in the R1 class with a time of 7:53.380. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Jimi Heyder, Randolph, Vermont, leaves the line on his way to an eighth- place finish in the Open class with his Mountain Midget Hillclimb Special. Heyder worked behind the scenes coming to the aid of several drivers with fuel acquisition, equipment loaning, and engine delivery. Heyder has raced motorcycle at the Loring Timing Association Speed Trials in Limestone, Maine. This week he plans to bring his midget to the Harvest Event at Loring. (HTF Motorsports photo)

UpNorth Motorsports has been following the progress of Vermont’s Paul Tignaud’s SuperChicken II. On his final run-on Sunday, Tignaud broke an axle and did not finish. His run earlier that day was 6:31.71 good enough for sixth place. (HTF Motorsports photo)

The only purely electric race car was Entrophy Racing’s Charlie Greenhaus of Sacramento, Pennsylvania. Posing with the car was a couple from Germany. This was the team’s third time competing in the Climb to the Clouds event. Greenhaus time of 7:13.205 was good for 18th overall and was 15 seconds faster than his personal best. The car is modeled after the SCCA Sports Racing class.  (HTF Motorsports photo)

Jason Carroll, Massachusetts with his motorsports logo shirt he simply labelled, “my shirt” His wife waves the checkered flag at the Climb to the Clouds finish line. Here outfit is checkered flags. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Tony Robbins not a rookie truck puller anymore

When I first met Presque Isle’s Tony Robbins, he was still in high school in 2015. He was working on his first 2WD Super Stock truck in welding class at Caribou Tech Center. Robbins was featured Episode 59, June 14, 2015   http://upnorthmotorsports.bdnblogs.com/2015/06/15/home/youth-racers-make-their-season-debuts/

“Loud and Proud” driven by 23-year-old Tony Robbins, Presque Isle on its way to a first-place finish. Robbins went 352.09 feet. (HTF Motorsports photo)

I caught up with Robbins at the Northern Maine Fairgrounds on night one of truck and tractor pulls, Friday August 6, 2021. That evening, he took first place in Pulls 1 & 2 with distances of 352.09 and 312.52 feet. The next day Robbins placed 5th in Pull 3 and rallied with a 3rd in the final Pull 4.

Tony Robbins, Presque Isle, with “Loud and Proud” at Northern Maine Fair Truck and Tractor Pulls 2021. The 23-year-old won two of the four pulls. (HTF Motorsports photo)

After Friday night the team was rushing back to their shop to help a fellow competitor who broke his transmission during his pull plus get his truck ready for the Saturday pulls.

Ken Bell wins three in Big Rig class

Driver of the NS Giles Foundations Big Rig pulling truck, Ken Bell, Sangerville. Bell dominated the class with his 1984 Mack Superliner, which he said was used to deliver lime all over the state of Maine in its younger days. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Driver Ken Bell in action with the 2500 horsepower Mack V8. Bell has competed for six years in the Giles company truck. His margin of victory was 34.72 feet in pull one, 87.49 feet in pull two and 31.24 in the final pull. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Oxford 250 in the books and another Clark wins

Cassius Clark, no relation to 2020 winner Johnny Clark, won the Oxford 250 in his 14th attempt. The finish was one of the closest in the 48-year history of the event. Cassius beat 2017 winner Curtis Gerry by .131 seconds. Pole sitter Derek Griffith was breathing on Clark’s rear bumper.

Rounding out the top 5 were Joey Doiron in fourth and Johnny Clark in 5th.


1 13 Cassius Clark
2 7G Curtis Gerry
3 12G Derek Griffith
4 21 Joey Doiron
5 54 Johnny Clark
6 MA17 Eddie MacDonald
7 12 Dennis Spencer
8 29S Trevor Sanborn
9 97 Joey Polewarczyk, Jr.
10 26 Bubba Pollard
11 88B Brandon Barker
12 50 Jeff White
13 99 Ben Ashline
14 72 Scott Robbins
15 1 Kyle DeSouza
16 23 Dave Farrington, Jr.
17 14 Scott McDaniel
18 81 Dan Winter
19 3C Josh Childs
20 36 Ryan Robbins
21 24 Mike Rowe
22 7B Travis Benjamin
23 94 Shawn Martin
24 20 Rowland Robinson, Jr.
25 90 Derek Kneeland
26 03 Scott Moore
27 10 Kate Re
28 52 Jake Matheson
29 18 Justin Larsen
30 4 Ben Rowe
31 63 Kyle Salemi
32 MA15 Jake Johnson
33 20P Joey Pastore
34 8 Calvin Rose, Jr.
35 43 Devin O’Connell
36 29T Austin Teras
37 ME14 Anthony Constantino
38 47M Ryan Moore
39 61 TJ Brackett
40 94H Garrett Hall
41 60B Tim Brackett
42 60S DJ Shaw
43 00 Jeremie Whorff

Land Speed Racing return to the County once again this week

The Loring Timing Association is hosting the Harvest Event 2021 September 1-4, 2021 at the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone. The pits open Tuesday August 31st with tech inspection available each day. Races start at 9 am and go until 5 pm except Saturday when races start at 8 am and conclude around 2 pm.

New this year will be the LTA Street Car Shootout with prizes for Supercars, Super Street, Real Street and Fastest Overall. More information about the races may be found at https://www.loringtiming.com/

Let’s go racing,

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria (Psalm 19)


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