Lime Rock Park treated us well this past weekend. Freedom Autosport finished 1st and 2nd with Stevan McAleer and Chad McCumbee taking the top step of the podium and Matt Fassnacht and I finishing second. It was a great race and we successfully displayed how well our Mazda MX-5 race cars work when the track caters to our strengths.
Before the cars hit the track on Friday, I was able to visit the TRUMPF U.S. Headquarters in Farmington, CT. which is about an hour away from the track. With 100 TRUMPF employees attending the race on Saturday, it was only appropriate that a "pep rally" took place at the office. With the #27 TRUMPF Inc. Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 on display, we caught a lot of attention. Meeting and conversing with the people that make TRUMPF the world-class brand that it is and showing them a "behind the scenes" look into motorsports was an extremely rewarding experience. I enjoyed every minute of the visit and loved seeing the genuine interest that the car brought to the TRUMPF campus.
On Friday, we knew it was going to be a busy day. With two practice sessions and qualifying packed in to a six hour timeframe, making adjustments to the car had to be efficient and effective. Luckily, Jason Hoover and Mark LaVallee put a fantastic baseline setup in the car which allowed us to fine tune rather than make big changes that usually require a significantly larger amount of time. With an unbelievably quick car, the confidence was high going into qualifying. Matt Fassnacht qualified the #27 car and he set a time that placed us in 3rd to start the race. Chad McCumbee in the #25 ModSpace car took his third pole in a row at the track which was very exciting to see!
In the race, our Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5's thrived. At a track where handling is overwhelmingly more important than straight-line speed, Lime Rock Park is dominated by the MX-5 platform. For the entire first stint, Chad led the field with the #34 Murillo Racing MX-5 in 2nd and my co-driver Matt Fassnacht in 3rd. The three cars broke away from the rest of the field and this trend carried on for the entirety of the race.
My stint was eventful to say the least. A drive through penalty for an issue during the pitstop caused me to give up 2nd position and also lose considerable time to the cars ahead. Luckily, a full course caution closed up the gap between the leaders and myself. Off the restart, I was able to make the pass for 2nd place and begin to hunt down Stevan in the #25 ModSpace car who had been leading for the entire duration of his stint. Once I caught Stevan and with 20 minutes to go, I started making some passing attempts. With ten minutes to go in the race, I began to feel the pressure and knew that time was running low. When I was following Stevan, I had picked out the areas where I was able to gain on him and kept these locations in mind. While trying to initiate a pass in the uphill by getting a good exit off the corner, I used too much of the apex curbing and began to spin until the #34 Murillo Racing MX-5 made contact with me that was unavoidable, unfortunately.
This moment sealed the race and Stevan and Chad were able to take the win with Matt Fassnacht and I coming in 2nd. I was ecstatic about the race even though I had made a mistake. The #25 and #27 cars and drivers were fast and our results emulated that perfectly. I was so proud to provide the huge group of TRUMPF guests with such a nail biting and successful finish. This one goes out to you guys! With an excellent car, team, and sponsor, the #27 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 was a car to beat this weekend. Thankfully, the only people who beat us were our teammates! Congratulations to all of us!