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BRAUN: Road Atlanta Debrief

Colin Braun files latest Sportscar365 debrief after CORE autosport latest title…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

I think I may have finally dried out from Petit Le Mans!

Those were some of the worst conditions I’ve ever experienced as a race car driver. Looking back on it, I’m really glad everyone made it home okay and I’m super impressed by the fans that stuck it out, plus the track staff and corner workers who were doing their best to keep the race running safely. I think they might have been the only ones wetter than us PC guys were!

Petit was the first race we went into that we weren’t solely focused on winning the race. Thanks to our win at COTA, we had a good gap in the championship points, so all we needed to do to get the PC team and driver titles was to make sure Jon completed his minimum drive time.

The conditions were pretty tricky all week, except for the first practice, which was dry, so we actually skipped a bunch of track time during the practice sessions. It just didn’t make sense to risk the car like that and you saw some of the other PC teams get into trouble that way.

We were pretty sure the race was going to end early, so it was all about letting Jon run out the clock on his stint, then put me in and see where we were and how we could go for the win. We could have played it safe or even parked it, but CORE doesn’t give up like that and it would have been a huge let down for our fans.

That’s why when Anthony Lazzaro had his moment and we had to take the car back to the paddock for repairs, our guys were thrashing to get the car back on track.

We didn’t need to, the championship was ours, we could have called it a day, dried off and warmed up, but there wasn’t even a hesitation. The CORE guys had us back on track in no time.

I wanted to help, so I asked our lead mechanic Cesar if it was okay to take a hose and spray the car off since it was covered in mud and grass and I wasn’t sure the guys could even see what they were working on. He said ‘yeah, sure, it’s not like there’s any part of it that’s not wet already.’

When we got back out it was a race of survival for everyone out there. It was getting darker, the rain wasn’t letting up and it was only a matter of time before IMSA called the race.

When they did we were one of only four PC cars left running. That might have been one time where I was okay not being on the podium, because the skies opened up with the worst rain of the day when the drivers were all up there getting their trophies. Jon and I were just keeping warm and dry!

Then again, I bet Jon and I were the only IMSA Champions digging our RVs out of the mud on Saturday night instead of out celebrating.

For CORE to get their fifth-straight PC championship really shows the dedication and hard work every single person on this team puts in.

It’s not just what you see at the race track; our guys are working hard in the shop day in and day out to make sure Jon and I are always in a position to win. I can’t thank them enough for the hours they put in and the time they spend away from their families. There’s no way to describe how thankful we are to have them.

I enjoyed watching Jon grow as a driver this season. The silver driver game has been raised to the next level and Jon has stepped up his game to match. He’s always looking for ways to improve his driving and I’m really lucky to have him as a co-driver and a friend.

I can’t wait to go for number six next year!

Colin Braun (@colinbraun) is a sports car racing standout and former NASCAR Nationwide and Truck Series driver, driving for Meyer Shank Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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