CORE autosport set for GRC Lites debut in Daytona

Photo: CORE autosport
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CORE autosport will make its GRC Lites team debut at Daytona next weekend with Colin Braun and Jon Bennett. The team’s release previewing its debut is below:

CORE autosport is ready to make its Red Bull Global Rallycross debut at Daytona International Speedway, June 18 – 19, with drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun and with support from SONIC Tools and ORECA.

After receiving two Rallycross Lites vehicles in May, CORE has carried out testing and is ready to put both cars into competition at Daytona for Rounds Four and Five of Red Bull Global Rallycross. Filling the driver seats will be CORE’s regular Prototype Challenge drivers Bennett and Braun, who will both make their GRC debut.

“I’m really looking forward to this new evolution of CORE autosport,” Bennett said. “We’ve got the right people in place and the perfect partners in ORECA and SONIC Tools. Colin and I may not have any rallycross experience, but we’ve tested and had a blast in the GRC Lites cars. It seems fitting for us to make our debut at Daytona, where we’ve achieved a good amount of success in sports cars. We even won the 24 Hours of Daytona in our debut… maybe that’s a tradition we can continue with GRC!”

CORE’s expansion into GRC comes with support from two partners: ORECA, which supplies CORE’s GRC program with steering wheels, seats and belts, and SONIC Tools, which CORE will use exclusively for this program.

“ORECA is glad and proud to bring support to CORE autosport as part of this exciting project in GRC Lites,” ORECA North America Manager, Renaud Chevalier declared. “GRC Lites is what our products are targeted for: a discipline involving budding young talents in keenly-fought and fascinating races. It’s the ideal challenge to show our products’ quality and we want to thank CORE autosport for trusting us.”

“As we continue to expand our motorsports presence, and presence in the USA, there was no better partner to enter into the GRC arena with besides CORE,” stated Colby McConnell, Chief Marketing Officer, SONIC Tools. “We have been working with teams in multiple areas of motorsports, and CORE is the one of the best in the business, so we are excited.”

Red Bull Global Rallycross rounds Four and Five at Daytona International Speedway take place June 18 – 19. Live timing and scoring is available on http://www.redbullglobalrallycross.com and the GRC Lites races will air on NBC Sports Network, Wednesday, June 22, at 4:30pm ET.

“This is a very exciting time for everybody at CORE autosport,” Program Manager Brian Colangelo said. “We’re venturing outside of our comfort zone into something new, but everybody here loves a challenge and we’ve hit the ground running. Partnering with ORECA and SONIC Tools has been tremendously helpful in getting our GRC program launched and feeling confident going into our competition debut. Recruiting Jon and Colin to drive was a no-brainer considering their racing accomplishments and we can expect excellent feedback from each of them.”

CORE autosport was founded in 2010 and has since gone on to win five Prototype Challenge Championships in American Le Mans Series and IMSA competition and has grown to include support of the factory Porsche GTLM program in North America, which produced back-to-back Manufacturer Championships in 2014 and 2015.

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
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On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)