SCC: Homestead: Freedom Autosport race report

Freedom Autosport Victorious at Homestead HOMESTEAD, Fla.--For Freedom Autosport, Saturday's GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race felt like a repeat of 2009 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but with one significant difference: at ...

Freedom Autosport Victorious at Homestead

HOMESTEAD, Fla.--For Freedom Autosport, Saturday's GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race felt like a repeat of 2009 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but with one significant difference: at the checkered flag, the No. 25 Mazda MX-5 was in first place.

Tom Long and Derek Whitis battled with the No. 74 Honda in last year's race at Homestead, eventually missing out on the win by just 0.129-second. This year, the tables were turned, and the No. 25 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 won by a narrow 0.103-second over the same competitor.

Whitis started the race, working his way up to second in the Street Tuner (ST) class in the first hour. "Winning is always difficult, but it's a lot easier when Mazda gives you a car like the MX-5 that can make it happen. Tom drove an amazing race and was able to bring home Mazda's first victory of the year in this series," said Whitis.

Long took the checkered flag, passing for first on the final lap of the race. "This race was dejà vu," said Long, "but this time we came out on top. We also had a lot of success with our MAZDASPEED3s; we've really taken a step forward with that program. Mazda's support and direction has been huge, and we hope to carry this momentum into Barber."

The No. 27 MAZDASPEED3 finished 12th thanks to the skills of co-drivers Dennis Trebing and Jason Saini. Since the MAZDASPEED3 is new, calculating fuel mileage is still a challenge, but Freedom Autosport timed it just right: the car had just enough fuel to get to the checkered flag.

"A big thanks to Dennis Trebing, Trebing Tile, DAMG Racing and Freedom Autosport for making the weekend a possibility," said Saini. "It felt good to be out there running in the top five, as at one point both my co-driver and I were doing. Running as strong as we did was a great accomplishment, and I have to thank Doug, Fred and the whole crew for giving us such a great car!"

Rhett O'Doski and Andrew Carbonell drove the No. 26 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 to 13th place. Pit stop cycling put them a lap down, but they ran times equal to those of the top ST cars.

"What a great job the whole Freedom Autosport team did this weekend. Our cars performed flawlessly, even with the additional competition weight adjustment that's been added to our MX-5s since last year. I'm looking forward to keeping our momentum up," said O'Doski.

"I was able to run with the leaders, but we were a lap down," commented Carbonell. "It was great to see one of our cars win the race, and I'm glad we could be part of the teamwork."

Ray Mason and Dane Cameron finished 21st in the No. 28 Freedom Autosport MAZDASPEED3. Mason started the race, then handed over to Cameron during the midpoint of the race. They faced a setback when Cameron had to pit unexpectedly with a cut tire, losing valuable time.

Freedom Autosport hopes to repeat their performance at Homestead next month when they race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

-source: freedom autosport

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ray Mason , Tom Long , Dane Cameron , Andrew Carbonell , Rhett O'Doski , Derek Whitis , Jason Saini , Dennis Trebing
Teams Freedom Autosport