Three Top-Tens at Daytona for Freedom Autosport
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—Freedom Autosport kicked off the 2017 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season with a top-ten finish for all three of the team’s Mazda MX-5s. The four-hour season opener at Daytona International Speedway went flawlessly for the Freedom Autosport drivers and crew.
Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer brought home the highest result for Freedom, finishing sixth in the No. 25 ModSpace/Premier Building Systems/Spartan Cargo Trailers Mazda MX-5. The No. 26 Semper Fi Fund Mazda MX-5 of Liam Dwyer and Andrew Carbonell was ninth, followed across the line by the No. 27 TRUMPF Mazda MX-5 of Robby Foley and Britt Casey, Jr.
The race was the first in the series for Foley. It was also his first time in a Freedom Autosport MX-5 and his first visit to Daytona. Foley said, “It was a great weekend overall, and everyone was really helpful with getting me up to speed. We went over a lot of video and data. It was a condensed schedule so it all happened quite fast, but I learned the track, the car and the Continental tire. I had about 20 laps in the car before the race, so I had time to get comfortable with both the car and IMSA’s procedures.”
Daytona marked the first time that Freedom Autosport has competed in a four-hour race, which is a longer format than the Continental Series has had in the past. All three of the Mazdas had different strategies, but ultimately the team opted to keep things simple by focusing on their strengths. There were 10 pit stops total for Freedom Autosport, and the crew executed them all flawlessly. On track, the drivers did not get caught up in any incidents, of which there were plenty. In fact, the numerous cautions gave the MX-5s a competitive edge at a track that does not suit the MX-5s well.
Fans can watch the race on Fox Sports 1 on Sunday, February 12, at 1:30p.m. EST.
Freedom Autosport Earns Two Top Tens in Competitive Sebring 120
SEBRING, Fla.—Freedom Autosport dealt with a bevy of challenges during the two-hour IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Sebring 120 on Friday, but the team left the historic Sebring International Raceway with two top-ten finishes in the ST class.
Andrew Carbonell and Liam Dwyer were seventh in the No. 26 Semper Fi Fund Mazda MX-5 after a hard charge by both drivers. Just behind them in eighth was the No. 27 TRUMPF Mazda MX-5 of Britt Casey, Jr. and Robby Foley. Unfortunately, the No. 25 ModSpace/Spartan Cargo Trailers Mazda MX-5 had a shock failure from contact early in the race that limited Stevan McAleer and Chad McCumbee to a finish of 16th.
“The car was good: we set it up for the long run on some older tires, knowing that’s what it was going to be like at the end. We picked up a lot of positions in the last 20 minutes,” said Casey. “We just had one little thing happen, and it’s cliché Sebring with the bumps: I had a huge workout with no power steering for 45 minutes! The bumps work these cars super hard, and weird stuff breaks.”
“It wasn’t an ideal situation today,” said McCumbee. “We did this one time at VIR and got a good result out of it, but Sebring just isn’t a track to lose a shock at. It’s not what we wanted, and it’s not what our ModSpace guys deserved. We should have had at least a chance at the podium today, so we’ll regroup and see if we can’t win one at Circuit of the Americas.”
McAleer noted, “Sebring is one of my favorite tracks, so the result is a disappointment. It looked like Chad had a good car, but the right rear shock was damaged on the first lap, and we had to drive around and try to not crash the car at that point. I think we could have been up front with the first five cars, and I hope we get another shot at it at the next race.”
“ModSpace had high hopes for Chad and Stevan this weekend at Sebring,” stated William Mann, Vice President of Business Development for ModSpace. “They came to Sebring with a great car and the experience they needed for success this weekend. They were the highest qualifying drivers for the Freedom team. In race trim the drivers were strong, however they broke a spring that ended their day earlier. ModSpace looks forward to the next race for these guys in a couple of weeks.”
Fans can catch the TV broadcast of the Sebring 120 on FS1 at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 26.
Freedom Autosport Gives Mazda Two Top-Fives at Austin
AUSTIN, Texas—Freedom Autosport had a solid race at Circuit of the Americas on Friday, earning two top-five finishes for the Mazda MX-5. Round three of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series featured a combination of skilled driving and quick pit stops to give the team solid results in the ST class.
Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer finished fourth in the No. 25 ModSpace/Spartan Cargo Trailers Mazda MX-5. McCumbee qualified third and stayed in the top-three throughout his stint in the two-hour race. McAleer battled for third in the final half-hour of the race, crossing the finish line just 0.2-second behind third.
Andrew Carbonell and Liam Dwyer finished fifth in the No. 26 Freedom Autosport/Semper Fi Fund Mazda MX-5. Dwyer teamed up with teammate Robby Foley during the first hour to charge through the field and into the top-ten. Carbonell continued that effort after getting behind the wheel during a caution that saw three flawless pit stops from the Freedom Autosport crew.
Foley and Britt Casey, Jr. finished 11th in the No. 27 TRUMPF Mazda MX-5 after a weekend of challenges. They missed qualifying due to a mechanical issue, so Foley started the race from the back of the ST grid. After teaming up with Dwyer, though, Foley moved into the top ten before handing over to Casey. Contact with another car resulted in an unexpected pit stop, but Casey was able to forge ahead to secure 11th.
We were close to stealing that last spot on the podium, and I gave it everything I had. We’re always fighting for the podium and I told the team on the radio if I got one opportunity I was going to take it. I actually passed for third on the last lap, but the other car had more straight-line speed and beat me to the finish line.
It was a relatively uneventful race for us. We had a solid ModSpace Mazda MX-5 all weekend, and we fell just a tiny bit short of the podium. We’ve got our work cut out for us this year with some of the other cars in the series having found some speed, and our guys are working super hard. I think we have some good racetracks coming up, and hopefully we can start challenging for podiums on a weekly basis.
After Lime Rock Win, Freedom Autosport Anticipates Road America Success
ELKHART LAKE, Wis.—A year ago, Freedom Autosport took two ST podium spots at Lime Rock Park, then followed it up with three top tens at Road America. This year, the team scored two podiums again—first and second—at Lime Rock, and now they are looking for another solid Road America weekend.
The Lime Rock win was the first of the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season for Stevan McAleer and Chad McCumbee in the No. 25 ModSpace/Spartan Cargo Trailers Mazda MX-5, but they dominated the race in style. They finished fourth at Road America in 2016, proving they have the right pace for that track, too.
Britt Casey, Jr. calls Road America home, and he’ll have a cheering crew of friends, family and sponsors on hand. He’ll also have a returning co-driver in Tom Long. The last time they teamed up was in 2015, which included a second at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The No. 27 TRUMPF Mazda MX-5 has been exceptionally quick thanks to the hard work of the Freedom Autosport crew, and it finished second at Lime Rock.
Liam Dwyer and Andrew Carbonell had a disappointing retirement at Lime Rock, but they co-drove the No. 26 Semper Fi Fund Mazda MX-5 to fifth at Road America last season, giving them good reason to be optimistic about this weekend.
Follow Freedom Autosport when the two-hour race starts at 5:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday, August 5. It will be broadcast live via IMSA.com and the IMSA app.
Road America is usually a challenge for us and our platform. If we can get some long runs this weekend, we may be able to outlast some of the competition because of how good our Mazda is on tire wear. Hopefully we can use the momentum from last week to get another good result for ModSpace.
Road America is always a tough track for the Mazda MX-5, but we have shown strong results in the past with a P4 there last year, which was hard-earned. Knowing this is achievable again and coming off a long-overdue win at Lime Rock, hopefully our run of bad luck this season has changed, and we look forward to clawing our way back in the championship. We moved up a few spots with the win, so let’s keep that momentum going!
Freedom Autosport's McAleer, McCumbee Earn Second Consecutive Win
ELKHART LAKE, Wis.—Saturday’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Road America might have been one of the most unusual in series history, but it ended with another win and second-place finish for Freedom Autosport.
For the second consecutive race, Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer won the ST class in the No. 25 ModSpace/Spartan Cargo Trailers Mazda MX-5. Britt Casey, Jr. and Tom Long finished second in the No. 27 TRUMPF Mazda MX-5.
A red flag for lightning brought the field into pit lane at the start of a heavy downpour not long after the halfway point. Neither McCumbee nor Long had pitted yet for a driver change, so when IMSA officials called the race, McAleer and Casey had not gotten the opportunity to drive. Because of the unusual circumstances, though, all drivers received full points for the race.
The two wins have propelled McAleer and McCumbee to fourth in points. Casey’s back-to-back second-place finishes have moved him to fifth in points, and this podium came in front of guests from his sponsors TRUMPF and Cushman & Wakefield.
The No. 26 Semper Fi Fund Mazda MX-5 had to start from the back of the ST field after a problem just prior to qualifying, but Liam Dwyer made up for it during his stint, moving into the top 10. Co-driver Andrew Carbonell took over shortly before the red flag, and he returned to the pits in a finishing position of 13th.
The Road America 120 will be broadcast on FS1 at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 13.
Freedom Autosport Quotes:
I felt that, given the conditions, we were in a good spot to contend for a podium with a lot of work. The car was good in every condition during the race. We also had a good strategy that, race stoppage or not, was going to keep us up front. We’ll take this win.
Road America isn’t a strong track for us, though we did get fourth last year and we hoped for something similar this year. This weekend was a weird one: we didn’t get a lot of practice laps because of the weather, and then IMSA made their call to end the race. I was literally standing there with my helmet in hand, ready to go. I’ve never seen a race result end up like this, and no question we were lucky today, so maybe it’s our luck turning around.
Freedom Autosport’s ModSpace Mazda MX-5 Third at Road Atlanta
BRASELTON, Ga.—Friday’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season finale at Road Atlanta was anything but predictable for Freedom Autosport. An unexpected finish left two of the team’s Mazda MX-5s out of the running, while propelling the No. 25 ModSpace/Spartan Cargo Trailers Mazda MX-5 to a third-place finish.
This is the third podium of the year for Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer, who had two wins this year and closed the season fifth in the ST class championship with the No. 25 ModSpace Mazda.
Freedom Autosport Mazdas were rarely outside the top-three throughout the two-hour race. McCumbee moved into third early in the race, a spot later held by Britt Casey, Jr. in the No. 27 TRUMPF, Inc. Mazda MX-5. Casey’s co-driver Tom Long later took the lead. The No. 26 Semper Fi Fund Mazda MX-5 of Liam Dwyer and Andrew Carbonell also ran in the top-three during the race.
Disaster struck during the final caution. As the field prepared to take the green flag for a sprint to the finish, a competitor at the front of the line of ST cars braked hard, causing a chain reaction of impacts behind. Both the No. 26 and 27 Mazdas were caught up in it, ending the race for both with only two laps remaining. The shake-up allowed the No. 25 Mazda to move into third.
Freedom Autosport Quotes
We had a car that was probably capable of battling for the lead all race long. In terms of long runs, I think we had the best car today. We developed a stumble in the engine about 30 minutes in, and ultimately that was our demise on battling for the win. I’m frustrated because I think we had a car capable of winning, but I’ll take a solid result to finish the year for ModSapce and Freedom Autosport.
The car has been good all season in terms of pace, but reliability has hurt us. We had a good car, just like we did last year, and we ended up in a similar situation where the car developed a misfire on a restart. Halfway through, the car started coming back in and we were hunting the lead group down before the final caution.