Freedom Autosport’s Pobst, Carbonell Second at Road Atlanta

Randy Pobst and Andrew Carbonell gave Freedom Autosport a great season finale by finishing second in the ST class during Friday’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Road Atlanta. Their No. 26 Mazda MX-5 was the highest-finishing Mazda in the class. 

The race marked the fifth trip to the podium for Pobst and Carbonell this season. They ended 2014 with two wins, one second and two thirds. In all, Freedom Autosport amassed three wins, one second and three thirds during the season. 

Pobst started the race from the 16th spot on the grid, which gave him the tough job of trying to move the No. 26 MX-5 through the middle of the pack. A great pit stop by the Freedom Autosport crew during the first full-course caution meant that Carbonell took up the chase in seventh place. From there, he continued to surge forward, crossing the finish line less than one second behind the winner. 

“This was a fabulous end to a great season,” said Pobst. “Andrew and the whole Freedom Autosport team did such a good job. It was a big comeback, really. We started further back, and the longer we ran, the better the Mazda ran. Special thanks to Glenn Long for running this team, and to Derek Whitis, Rhett O’Doski and Mazda Motorsports for the opportunity.” 

“That Mazda MX-5 can really keep its Continental tires under it for a long time, so the longer we’re under green, the better, but we had a lot of cautions today,” said Carbonell. “This car has been so competitive all year. Freedom Autosport has always done a great job preparing the MX-5, and racing with Randy all year has been a real honor for me.” 

Mark Pombo put in a solid qualifying effort in the No. 25 Mazda MX-5, securing the fifth spot on the grid. He and Mat Pombo were optimistic after finishing third at Circuit of the Americas last month. As the first hour of the race progressed, Mark moved into third place. Unfortunately, a crash exiting turn 12 took the No. 25 out of contention. 

Britt Casey, Jr., returned for his third race with Freedom Autosport in the No. 27 Mazda MX-5. The 16-year-old had never raced at Road Atlanta before, but he set a qualifying time that put him at 18th for the start. Casey and co-driver Christian Szymczak, who was making his Freedom Autosport debut, ran a steady race to finish 16th 

The season finale and Freedom Autosport’s podium finish will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 at noon on October 12. 

“This has been a memorable season for Freedom Autosport: we’ve had a lot of success on the track, and we were able to have veterans driving for us,” said team co-owner Derek Whitis. “Mark Pombo drove with the team all season, and it was an honor to have U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant Liam Dwyer join us for three rounds. We look forward to continuing to foster driving opportunities for military veterans in our 2015 season.”

Adam Sinclair