This past weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was a memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
During the test day, we had to do some troubleshooting with the ABS system. In result, I only had 2 laps before official practice and qualifying. I have to thank my teammate Andrew Carbonell and co-driver Tom Long for getting me up to speed even though I had minimal track time.
After the ABS issue was solved, I qualified the car P3. My teammate, Liam Dwyer, qualified P8. With both Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5's starting in the top 10, we were ecstatic.
When the green flag waved, I was able to move up to P2 in a close battle with two other MX-5's driven by Justin Piscitell and Steven McAleer. After running in 2nd place and setting the fastest lap of the race, I brought the car in for the driver change and pitstop. The team performed flawlessly and Tom Long hopped in the car to take it to the end.
During Tom's stint, he lead the field until the last lap with two corners to go. The 26 car, driven by Andrew Carbonell, battled through the field and passed Tom in turn 10 for the lead and eventual victory.
To be a part of this huge victory was an opportunity that I am extremely grateful for. Mazda and Freedom Autosport built an amazing MX-5 that performed above all expectations. The whole team worked late every night to get the cars ready.
I need to thank all of Mazda, Freedom Autosport, and ClothingShopOnline for their commitment to me. I also need to thank Tom Long and Andrew Carbonell for their assistance in getting me acclimated to this track that I have never been to. Most importantly, I need to thank Liam Dwyer and Aaron Denning for their service to this country. Aaron saved Liam's life when Liam stepped on an IED in Afghanistan. To have Aaron Denning with us this past weekend was amazing. He was just as impressed with us as we were with him.
To answer the question that everyone is wondering... No I am not at all disappointed with a 2nd place finish. This was a team win for Mazda, Freedom Autosport, and the Semper Fi Fund. In my eyes, I consider this a win for both the 25 and 26. Freedom Autosport finished 1st and 2nd and Mazda took 4 out of the top 5 positions at their home track.