Freedom Autosport aiming to propel Mazda to manufacturer title at Lime Rock

A strong finish at Lime Rock can help propel Mazda into the top spot in the manufacturer championship.

LAKEVILLE, Conn.—Freedom Autosport heads into the final round of the 2014 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season at Lime Rock with high hopes for a top finish not just in the race, but in the manufacturer and team points, as well.

Rhett O’Doski and Andrew Carbonell won the previous round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the No. 26 Mazda MX-5, while Derek Whitis and Tom Long took second in the No. 25 Mazda MX-5. Lime Rock has historically been a strong venue for the Freedom Autosport MX-5s, and this year, the team is carrying the momentum of their one-two finish at Mazda Raceway with them.

A strong finish at Lime Rock can help propel Mazda into the top spot in the manufacturer championship. Currently, Mazda is just seven points out of the lead. To help the manufacturer points effort, Freedom Autosport will add a third car to their lineup at Lime Rock: the No. 27 MX-5 with Mazda ladder drivers Joel Miller and Tristan Nunez.

O’Doski and Carbonell are fourth in driver points, only four points away from breaking into the top three.

#26 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5: Andrew Carbonell, Rhett O'Doski
#26 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5: Andrew Carbonell, Rhett O'Doski

Photo by: Jay Alley

“It puts a little more pressure on us, knowing we have to perform if we want the results,” Carbonell says, “but I go into every race with that mentally and determination to perform my best, so that doesn’t change. Lime Rock is a place that is promising for us, and our MX-5s have always performed well there. I look forward to going there every year, even though that track hasn’t always been so nice to me.”

Carbonell—who flipped six times in a crash at Lime Rock two years ago—is not the only Freedom Autosport driver looking for some redemption at the Connecticut circuit. Whitis and Long have always shown a great deal of potential at Lime Rock, and Whitis has started from pole for two consecutive years. He and Long won the race in 2011, but in 2012, an electrical issue cost them the race and the championship.

“It’s been a very exciting season,” says Long. “Freedom Autosport has won a couple of races and we’re hoping for more success to end the season on a high note. Traditionally, Lime Rock has suited our Mazdas very well, so we’re feeling very positive and know we have nothing to lose with this final round.”

“Tom and I were disappointed with the results last year, and we’re looking forward to ending the 2014 season on a high note,” says Whitis. “We’re especially anxious to help Mazda win another manufacturer championship, and a strong finish from Freedom Autosport can help them take the title.”

“Lime Rock is similar to Barber in that it’s a tight track and you can carry a lot of speed through the corners. It’s a big momentum track, and that really suits the MX-5,” says O’Doski. He and Long gave Freedom Autosport their first series podium at Lime Rock in 2008, when they finished second. “Our crew has done an outstanding job all season, and we would really like to give them another win this year.”

The Street Tuner race will start on Friday, September 27, at 3:25 p.m. ET. The 2.5-hour race will close out the season for the series and Freedom Autosport.

Mazda/Freedom Autosport

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Tom Long , Andrew Carbonell , Rhett O'Doski , Derek Whitis , Joel Miller , Tristan Nunez
Teams Freedom Autosport
Article type Preview
Tags andrew carbonell , derek whitis , freedom autosport, lime rock, mazda, rhett o’doski, tom long