CORE Autosport

IMSA team involved with facemask production to help COVID-19 battle

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A company with strong ties to IMSA and NASCAR is shifting some of its work to manufacture facemasks in the midst of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Composite Resources, which is the Rock Hill, South Carolina-based parent company of CORE autosport, began shipping hundreds of facemasks Tuesday after starting up production four days earlier.

“In a matter of 24 hours, we had a prototype, the material come in, had a production plan, had an e-commerce site set up,” Morgan Brady, the chief operating officer of CORE autosport, told NBCSports.com in an interview Monday. “As soon as we went live, the orders kept coming in, and whether it’s just a family looking for facemasks, or a hospital looking for thousands, it was clear there was an unmet need there for the community.

“So we are producing hundreds a day and working toward many thousands per day in order to support the need out there.”

Brady said CORE autosport and Composite Resources founder John Bennett had been inspired by watching a TV news report last Wednesday about a Georgia hospital that had burned through five months’ worth of its N95 masks in six days. The hospital’s cardiovascular unit began sewing together washable masks to fit over the N95s (which are among the many medical supplies in scarce supply worldwide, causing many companies to shift priorities) and prolong their usage.

Composite Resources’ masks, which aren’t FDA approved, are designed to work the same way. They are made of a cotton-polyester blend similar to T-shirts.

“We are going off of some studies out there that show several layers of this cotton-poly material performs similar to like a surgical facemask,” Brady said. “And so what we’re hearing from the medical community is, because obviously it’s not FDA certified, the medical community is benefiting from taking these masks and wearing it over the N95 mask and then washing our mask to make everything last longer.”

Brady said the facemasks are on sale to the public through its website but “if we start reaching the point where we can’t keep up with demand, we will have to limit it to medical professionals.”

The masks are being made directly above the CORE autosport shop where the team prepares its Nos. 911 and 912 Porsche 911 RSRs. Those cars run the GTLM class in IMSA with drivers Nick Tandy, Fred Makowiecki, Matt Campbell, Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor and Mathieu Jaminet.

Composite Resources also has manufactured composite deck lids on Cup cars for several years from a building beside its IMSA shop.

While its racing operations currently are at a standstill, Brady said CORE autosport hadn’t diverted staff to facemasks yet “but we may pull them in to support logistics.”

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

NBCSN

“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).