Not only was it her first race in the Continental Tire Challenge, it was her first attempt at endurance competition.
Ashley Freiberg had just returned to her hotel following her first IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Daytona International Speedway. Pleased with a second-place finish, she was looking forward to relaxing after a draining afternoon of racing in the BMW Performance 200.
There, she helplessly paced the floor after turning the No. 48 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 over to teammate Shelby Blackstock, who came up just short at the checkered flag. Freiberg’s “quiet time” at the hotel ended suddenly when her cell phone began ringing and froze, because so many people were trying to call her at the same time with startling news – she and Blackstock had been declared the winners due to the original first-place car failing technical inspection.
“What an amazing feeling – to win at a track like Daytona with so much history,” Freiberg said. “Incredible. Especially to win in my first race in the Continental Tire Challenge, that blew way past my own expectations.”
Now, Freiberg is back to pacing the floor. She’s hoping to secure sponsorship enabling her to run in the upcoming race at Sebring International Raceway on March 14 and the remaining events in the Continental Tire Challenge.
“Shelby and I have established a great working relationship – and I want to keep that going.”
It was also Blackstock’s first Continental Tire Challenge victory, at the beginning of his fourth season in the series. The son of superstar singer/actor Reba McEntire plans to run in eight races this year or as many as his schedule permits.
“I’d like to continue driving with Ashley,” he said. “We’re a pretty good pairing, especially now that she’s comfortable in the car.”
Now, he’s looking for another strong finish at Sebring to follow up his Daytona victory.
“I’ve been to Sebring many, many times, in both open-wheel cars and sedans,” Blackstock added. “I love it; it’s an awesome place. It’s got enough technical corners to make it challenging, along with high-speed corners to make it gutsy. I think it will be a good match for our BMW.”