Freedom Autosport’s Whitis and Long hope to clinch ST championship at Lime Rock

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LAKEVILLE, Conn.—Last year, Freedom Autosport’s Derek Whitis and Tom Long won the ST race at Lime Rock Park. This year, they’ll be happy just to finish in the top six. That’s where the duo will have to place in order to clinch their first GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge championship.

#25 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5: Tom Long, Derek Whitis
#25 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5: Tom Long, Derek Whitis

Photo by: Luis Betancourt

Whitis and Long have been championship contenders all season, but it wasn’t until their win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca earlier this month that they finally took over the ST team and driver points leads. Now, heading into the final round of the season, Whitis and Long have a nine-point team championship lead in the No. 25 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5. They also have an 11-point advantage in driver points.

“Mazda Raceway was a great result and the team really deserved it. They worked amazingly hard all weekend,” says Whitis, who took the ST pole at Lime Rock in 2011. “Lime Rock Park is the type of track where anyone could win, so we'll do our best for Mazda, the team, and most importantly, all the veterans and troops who protect our freedom.”

For Freedom Autosport, “doing our best” means approaching the season finale with the same strategy and commitment that has helped the team be a consistent top-ten finisher all season. “We can't stress about the points lead. We simply have to do the best job we can and focus on getting Freedom Autosport and Mazda another top race result,” says Long.

For Rhett O’Doski and Andrew Carbonell in the No. 26 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5, the Lime Rock race will be about redemption. O’Doski qualified third there last year and Carbonell was battling for the race lead when a collision sent the Mazda off-track, where it flipped six times.

“We finished second at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and now we’re looking for another top finish to end the season on a high note,” says O’Doski. “We’ve proven that the MX-5 is a competitive car at Lime Rock, and we’re anxious to get a result that matches our potential at that track.”

There is certainly a lot of potential for co-drivers Tyler Cooke and Dillon Machavern in the No. 8 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5. Both drivers are just 18 years old, but Cooke already has a wealth of GRAND-AM experience as a member of Freedom Autosport. He has also stood atop the Lime Rock podium in Skip Barber competition. Machavern is making his series debut at Lime Rock, bringing with him a successful track record in Spec Miata racing.

Source: Freedom Autosport

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Series GRANDAM
Article type Preview
Tags carbonell, contintental, cooke, grandam, lime rock, long, machavern, mazda, o'doski, whitis