Ashley Freiberg Battles in Second Race Weekend for the Skip Barber National Series presented by MAZDA Last Thursday-Sunday, April 23-26, Ashley Freiberg attended the second race weekend, races 3 and 4 of the Skip Barber National Series at ...
Ashley Freiberg Battles in Second Race Weekend for the Skip Barber National Series presented by MAZDA
Last Thursday-Sunday, April 23-26, Ashley Freiberg attended the second race weekend, races 3 and 4 of the Skip Barber National Series at Virginia International Raceway. Ashley had just returned home from Virginia the Sunday before because she was racing in a Pro Star Mazda with the SCCA National Series. When Ashley returned she had two days to catch up on her school work, Wednesday she had ACT testing, and had to reschedule her PSAE test in order to be at the track Thursday morning. Ashley was coming into this weekend with a lot of confidence because of how well her race weekend in the Pro Star Mazda car had gone the weekend before.
During Thursday and Friday practice, Ashley was using her time wisely by spacing herself from the other 21 competitors and driving the track on her own. These race cars are equipped with a Hanford device on the rear wing. This device creates a huge drag, but also helps the chasing cars' ability to draft and pass. The draft can add up to about three seconds quicker per lap if you set it up and time it right. Ashley wanted to learn the quickest way around the track without the help of a draft. She used the last half of one practice session running with a small group of cars. She did this to plan her strategies and test the best possible track placement for taking advantage of the draft.
Ashley ended up qualifying 7th for the race on Saturday. "I couldn't believe how much the draft is worth at this track," Ashley said. "I went two seconds faster!" The race was going to be very close because every driver that qualified from 1st place to 19th is talented enough to win. She ended up finishing 6th. "A top 10 finish in the Skip Barber National Series is a huge accomplishment. Everyone here is so close in talent. I probably changed positions four or five times per lap!"
On Sunday Ashley had a qualifying session first thing in the morning for her race in the afternoon. Due to an incident on the front straightaway, she only had five green flag laps to qualify. With one flying lap she ended up 8th. During the week, Ashley had been fighting gearbox issues which prevented proper downshifting. "The Skip Barber crew worked very hard trying to find the cause of this problem. At the beginning of the race, we were very confident this problem had been solved," said Ashley. "But when the green flag waved and I headed into turn one, I went to down- shift and there was nothing there." The problem had even made it difficult to up-shift. Not only that, but during the full-course caution Ashley's car began to over-heat and vapor-lock, causing the engine to die in turn six. "I was able to start it back up and get back in line with the field, but I decided to pull into the pits because I couldn't drive the car with out control of the throttle." Ashley ended up finishing one lap down and 17th place overall.