Posted (08/09/2014) -
Elkhart Lake, WI (August 10, 2014) -- Their Brickyard blues behind them, Randy and his Freedom Autosport No. 26 Mazda MX-5 team traveled to Road America for Round 9 of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Championships with a plan for success at a track that would be difficult for them. The entire team worked to improve the setup and Randy and co-driver Andrew Carbonell kept the Mazda out of danger and near the front, with Andrew taking the checkered flag in fourth and later moving up the results when the third-place finishers failed post-race technical inspection and were disqualified.
"Third is an excellent finish for a Mazda with the long straightaways at Road America. We had a lot of practice time in the test session and were able to make many pit stops to work on the setup. Our Mazda was handling really well but I was not so optimistic on our finish because the long straightaways don't suit the MX-5. Different strategies really changed the complexion of our race. The Freedom Autosport team knew from experience how hard this track is on suspension and brakes. Our plan was to run easy on the rough curbs and I did that in the race. I qualified and started the car in tenth and was proud of that position. In the beginning of the race I was fortunate to find a good car to run with. I would draft down the straight and brake early into the corner, then use my handling to catch the Honda on the exit of the corner, and draft again down the next straightaway. I used that strategy for my entire stint off two different Hondas, enabling good lap times without being hard on the car, which was my job as the starting driver. Then Andrew got in and the Freedom Autosport team has a great pit stop, which is something they work hard on. Andrew was able to run up front and actually passed for second, but got re-passed on the straight. It was a back and forth battle. There was a late full course caution with five minutes to go. We thought the race would finish under yellow. But with one minute to go, they threw the green flag for a one lap restart. Andrew got passed by a Porsche and we got fourth, but were later moved to third."
"This was a real team effort and a very effective strategy. Unlike Nascar and other series, in Continental, cars are different and react to each track in different manners which makes it interesting. We have our advantages and they have theirs. Our team was able to find a way to succeed at a track that did not necessarily suit us. I really enjoyed spending time with our new Freedom Autosport teammates, Britt Casey Jr and my dear friend Mark White, who drove the third, No. 27 Mazda. They had issues but Britt had a strong stint. I want to send a special thank you to my friends Larry Boyer and his wife Mary Medo with whom I stayed all week. Thanks also goes to my personal sponsors Blackbox Guard, SafeRacer.com, Motor Trend Magazine and TPC Racing for their continued support. On to VIR."
The Continental Tire Road Race Showcase will be televised August 17 at noon ET on FOX Sports 1. The next IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race will be at Virginia International Raceway on August 23, 2014.
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