SCC: VIR: Freedom Autosport race report

Freedom Autosport Disappointed with Virginia Results ALTON, Va.--For Freedom Autosport, Murphy's Law kicked into high gear during Saturday's GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race at Virginia International Raceway. The Performance...

Freedom Autosport Disappointed with Virginia Results

ALTON, Va.--For Freedom Autosport, Murphy's Law kicked into high gear during Saturday's GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race at Virginia International Raceway. The Performance Friction powered by LifeLock Mazdas showed great potential, but various incidents forced all three to retire from the race.

Derek Whitis and Tom Long had especially high hopes after winning at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) last year. They had also won the previous two rounds in the No. 25 Mazda MX-5, and were ready for win number three at their home track.

Whitis was holding down a solid fifth place shortly before the one-hour mark, when a car spun on a restart. The incident collected a number of other cars, including the No. 25 Performance Friction Mazda MX-5 powered by LifeLock.

"Before the accident, the cars were running great, though a bit heavier after the latest round of rule changes," notes Whitis. "The contact was two really hard hits so the car is totaled, but luckily everyone is mostly okay. Everyone was glad to hear Todd Burras--minus a few ribs--is going to be fine."

The other Freedom Autosport entries were top-five contenders, as well. Eric Foss qualified third in the Street Tuner class in only his second event behind the wheel of the No. 27 MAZDASPEED3. He and co-driver Randy Pobst were holding down fourth and were poised to earn the best finish to date for the new MAZDASPEED3. Unfortunately, a mis-shift halfway through the race triggered a drivetrain issue, forcing an early retirement.

With the No. 25 and 27 Mazdas out of the race, it was up to Andrew Carbonell and Mark Pombo--substituting for Rhett O'Doski--to put Freedom Autosport on the podium. The No. 26 Mazda MX-5 was third with just forty minutes left in the race. A slow oil leak developed, though, and as the oil pressure fell, the team finally had to retire their remaining car.

Despite the disappointing results, Freedom Autosport is already looking ahead to next month's race at Lime Rock. "The crew will be working day and night to get all the cars going for Lime Rock, which should be the best track of the year for the Mazda MX-5s powered by LifeLock. One way or another Freedom will be firing on all cylinders at Lime Rock Park," says team co-owner Whitis.

"We've obviously got quite a bit of work to accomplish heading into Lime Rock, but thankful we've got a month to address everything," adds Long. "We'll be staying extra busy as testing is scheduled in the coming weeks at both tracks that are up next, Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. Our guys will be ready for the Memorial Day race weekend, hungrier than ever."

While the crew has a lot of work ahead, team manager Long is quick to praise them for their hard work at VIR. "The race was really going superb for all three of our Mazdas this weekend. The Freedom Autosport crew prepped top-notch racecars as they have been doing all season, and we found ourselves in the top five with all three cars. It sure put on a great show for the huge turnout of fans who came to watch our home race event."

-source: freedom autosport

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Randy Pobst , Tom Long , Rhett O'Doski , Derek Whitis , Mark Pombo , Eric Foss
Teams Freedom Autosport