Couple of the Week – Rob and Lisa Bennett
Lisa grew up in Panama and didn’t even see snow until she was 10 years old when her family moved to the Maryland/Washington DC area. She had a typical suburban childhood being a member of the Girl Scouts and playing the clarinet in the marching band in high school. It seems Lisa was a bit of a band geek! Lisa’s dad barely owned a screwdriver, a crescent wrench and a hammer, so he was not much of an influence on her racing career. For her 17th birthday, her boyfriend got her a Craftsman tool set and I proceeded to pull apart the motor of my 71 Camaro just to see what made it work. My parents thought I was nuts. Lisa’s father forbade her to get a motorcycle, so when she turned 18, she went right out and bought herself a 1985 Honda Interceptor. She’s been riding ever since.
Rob grew up in Bowie, Maryland and was not the greatest student. His 4th grade teacher stated that, “school is a disruption to Robert’s social life” on a report card. He was into cars from an early age and in high school he had a 72 Camaro, 69 La Mans, 69 GTO and a 72 Monte Carlo, all before graduation. Rob’s parents didn’t have much to do with his love of racing either. His father was a CPA and his mother was a data entry manager. Rob isn’t sure his father knew the difference between a hammer and a socket! Rob first got into motorcycles when he secretly bought a Rupp mini bike when he was in the 5th grade. He kept it at a friend’s house for the first month he owned it because his mother threatened to kill him. His first street bike was a 1984 Honda V45 Magna.
How did you get involved in drag racing?
Lisa: I went to MIR in Budd’s Creek, MD in 1983 to watch the Wild Bunch Door Slammers. It was so awesome! I then went to Captial Raceway in Crotton, MD with my 71 Camaro and learned how to stage and race.
Rob: In 1975 I went to Capital Raceway with a neighbor and saw a booked in Funny Car match race. In 1982, I started working at local speed shops and became heavily involved in the performance industry.
How did you meet your significant other?
Lisa and Rob tell the same story from different perspectives!
Lisa: I had a tendency to break my car at the drag strip. I started going to Speed Unlimited in Morningside, MD and got help from this cute guy named “Robbie”. I figured I could get a really good deal on parts if I dated him. The rest is history.
Rob: A gorgeous blonde walking through the doors of a speed shop tends to get everyone’s attention, including mine! I just happened to be the fortunate counter guy who she approached about buying a ring and pinion. I knew it had to be fate as, being an avid photographer, I liked to take pictures of pretty girls at the drag strip and car shows. (But not a stalker!) I was going through some old photo albums and, sure enough, came across a picture I had taken of Lisa years before we met at a car show. I know we were made for each other when we decided to go to the 1990 Gator Nationals as part of our honeymoon.
History of racing bikes and classes:
Lisa: Rob and I were really into Ducati street riding. I took my 2000 Ducati 748 to the Texas Motorplex to play around while my best friend, Donna Watson, was testing her Super Street 71 Vega. After a few passes on my 748, this tall guy came over and said he thinks I can handle my bike well and wanted to know if I want to take his drag bike down the track. What is comical is that I looked at his bike and said, “How old is that thing?” It was an 83 GS1100. It was Ben Brown who I was talking to and he proceeded to show me how to do a burnout in his pit. My first pass was in the high 11’s, but I thought I had been on a rocket ship! Three weeks later I bought an 85 GS1150 and started racing. After 3 years in Pro ET, I bought an ex-Pro Stock D&G chassis 95 Suzuki rolling chassis and started racing Top Gas. That bike is still in my garage and knows its way down the track and into the winner’s circle.
Rob: After helping Lisa have so much fun on her Pro ET bike, I realized I was a horrible spectator. I bought my own 85 GS 1150 conversion back-half and we had a blast competing with each other and against each other at the NHRA Divisional, PMRA, and other series in the region.
Current race bike and class:
Lisa: Officially retired, but still have my 95 Suzuki 1500cc Top Gas bike. Who knows, I may show up at the drag strip in the future.
Rob: After racing a small tire bracket bike in the high 9’s for numerous years, the “go fast bug” bit hard. In the midst of my shopping for a big tire chasis, imagine my surprise when Christmas morning I opened a box with a picture of my current Top Gas bike and a note from Lisa saying, “Yes, it’s yours!” My learning curve on that big tire bike was steep, but with help from friends like Jeff House and Ben Brown, I came into my own and still have that bike in my garage. The plan is that we have retired, but I reserve the right to change my mind.
Lisa Bennett (Her parents were weird and didn’t give her a middle name!)
DOB: Lisa – April 29
Robert Lambert Bennett
DOB: Rob – September 20
Rob: Born in Washington, DC
Lisa: Born in Canal Zone, Panama
Residence: Lucas, TX
Children’s Names: Kendall (26) and Devon (20)
Home Track: We’d have to say Tulsa Raceway Park even though it is 5 hours away from our house. That’s because home is really where your friends and your memories are, not a geographical spot.
Crew Members: Each other and our 80 lb Catahoula “Daisy”
Lisa – 2011 NHRA Division 4 Sportsman Motorcycle Champion
Rob – 2008 PMRA Pro ET Championship.
Special Recognitions: Rob and I had the pleasure of running PMRA along with our other committee members from 2012-2015. It was humbling and rewarding to give back to the sport that has been so much a part of our lives. Meeting new friends and building relationships with sponsors was truly gratifying.
Goals: Have fun now that our girls are grown. We’re also both looking forward to riding Ducati Monsters in the Austrian Alps in July.
Other interests: We like riding our new Ducati Scramblers thought the country Texas roads and competitive tactical shooting.
Favorite food: Italian for both of us.
Daily Drivers: Lisa drive a 2009 Cadillac CTS-V and Rob drives a 2012 Chevy Silverado.
Do you own a classic vehicle? Yes! 1966 Chevy II
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