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

CORE Autosport
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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: Husqvarna’s Jalek Swoll and Malcolm Stewart out with injury

Swoll Stewart injury
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Jalek Swoll and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna teammate Malcolm Stewart sustained injury in separate crashes late last week. Stewart missed Anaheim 2 and Swoll will not mount up for the 250 East season opener in Houston on February 4.

“Spent all of yesterday in the ER and today getting surgery so haven’t been able to make an update post,” Swoll posted on Instagram. “Spiral fractured my humorous yesterday and was lucky enough to get into surgery today. Absolutely heartbroken that I couldn’t show all the hard work me, [Mike Brown], [Aldon Baker], and [Joel Perez] were working on truly felt like this year was going to a big one with massive improvements we made but I guess it just wasn’t my time.”

The team announced on Instagram that Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken bone in his arm, sustained in a practice crash on Friday. After missing the division opener, no further timeline has been given for his return.

Swoll made eight starts in the 250 West division last season with a best finish of fifth. In 2021, he scored his first SuperMotocross win in the outdoor Pro Motocross season at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania.

Stewart missed Anaheim 2 due to a practice injury. Likewise, the team did not announce a timetable for Stewart’s return.

He showed a lot of speed in the first two rounds before accidents eliminated him from contention in both rounds. He finished 16th at Anaheim 1 and 15th in San Diego, putting him in a points’ deficit that was already going to be difficult to overcome.

Stewart entered the 2023 season with a ton of confidence and believed all he needed was to stack his chips the right way to get this year’s championship.

Husqvarna is now represented by RJ Hampshire in the 250 West division and Christian Craig in 450s.

Hampshire had a rough weekend in Anaheim 2 and finished 11th in the overall standings after scoring a last place result in Race 2 with a bike sidelined by crash damage and a 13th in Race 3 after another fall.

Craig has not yet scored a top-10 on his 450 with a best of 11th at San Diego and Anaheim 2.

The news of these two injuries comes on the heels of the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team losing three of their four 250 riders.

Last week, Pro Circuit Kawasaki announced Seth Hammaker would miss the season opener with a wrist injury. Almost immediately, it was announced Jo Shimoda would also miss the 250 East opener with a shoulder injury.

Chris Blose will serve as a replacement rider in the 250 East division with Carson Mumford scheduled to replace the injured Austin Forkner in the West.