Montrose, CA — Craig Bennett of Milford, Mich., swept qualifying and Saturday’s Historic IMSA GTO Challenge race, sanctioned by the Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA), in his 1990 Nissan 300ZX at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
It was Bennett’s second historics win at Long Beach — a follow-up to an emotional win in 2017 that marked his return to racing after a serious 2016 accident at Road Atlanta.
Joel Miller of Irvine, Calif., finished 2nd in his 1991 Mazda RX-7 and Escondido’s Ken Davis rounded out the top three in his 1985 Ford Mustang.
“The fun part about what I get to do is drive with Joel and the rest of these great drivers,” Bennett said. “I knew the best opportunity I was going to have to win would be driving through traffic and managing the race.”
HMSA President Cris Vandagriff has overseen the vintage portion of the popular Southern California tradition nine times and said 2019 was an exciting race enjoyed by many — especially the racers.
“There are always a ton of moving pieces to running a race of this magnitude, but everyone had a great time and the racing was very exciting,” Vandagriff said. “The racers provided some incredible competition and it seems like every time Craig Bennett shows up for this race, he wins, but the other racers made him work for it.”
The cars in the Historic IMSA GTO Challenge were required to be period-correct race cars from 1980 through 1991 — helping to celebrate this year’s 50th anniversary of IMSA.