On Saturday, Britt Casey, Jr. and I took 2nd in the IMSA Continental Tire race at Road America, but what a crazy race it was! The beginning of our event had some foreshadowing: I flew into Milwaukee and drove to the track, and the closer I got to Elkhart Lake, the darker the clouds were. By the time I got to Road America, the tunnel to get into the track was flooded because it was raining so hard.

Our promoter test day was cancelled because of the torrential rain, and sure enough, by that evening, it was a sunny sky with a beautiful sunset during my track walk with Britt.

The next day was similar: we missed most of the first practice because of heavy rain, but we got in some laps in our No. 27 Freedom Autosport TRUMPF Mazda MX-5—my first time back in that car in two years! It was rainy throughout that day of practice, so we never got to verify our dry weather setup.

We qualified the morning of the race and finally got to run the car in the dry. It was a leap of faith for the setup, but it worked out well. Despite the long straights at Road America not being the MX-5’s strong suit, we were still able to put two team cars inside the top 10, and we knew we had a strong package for the race that afternoon.

The race seemed like it was going to be straightforward until it started pouring rain during the Fan Walk and we realized it could be a rain race. It wasn’t raining at the start, and we had drying conditions that seemed to suit our MX-5 very well.

MK5_7488My teammate Chad McCumbee in the No. 25 Mazda and I were able to team up and work our way through some of the other cars to run inside the top five. As the rain became more eminent—you could actually see it in the distance—the team opted to stay out to try to make the pit stops as efficient as possible by changing to rain tires when we did the driver change.

Crazy enough, that moment never came as the race went to full-course yellow and soon thereafter, when we were waiting for pit road to open, the race was red-flagged because of lightning. With just under an hour left in the race, I was wondering when it would get started and thinking how all the strategies and scenarios might work out. The time continued to tick and eventually IMSA called the race complete about 20 minutes short of the full two-hour race time.

32_TRUMPFGuestsRdAmericaThat deemed Freedom Autosport first and second in the ST category! We were beside ourselves because we were poised for pit stops and changing to rain tires, and it was suddenly over. We were in the right place at the right time, and we enjoyed the celebration very much! It was special to have Mazda’s John Doonan and his whole family there to celebrate our podium, as well as all the special guests from TRUMPF. I enjoyed meeting those folks and learning more about their partnership with Britt and the 27 car.

It was an interesting race because Britt never even got in the car. He was still elated with the result, as this was the car’s second podium in a row and the second 1-2 for the team in a row. It was a great boost for Freedom Autosport heading into the final stretch of the championship, where two of their cars now sit inside the top five with three races left. I cherished the opportunity to team back up with Britt and to compete at Road America, when a couple weeks ago I thought I wouldn’t have the chance to race at that event.

Celebrating our 1-2 with Mazda Motorsports's John Doonan and No. 25 Freedom driver Chad McCumbee.

Celebrating our 1-2 with Mazda Motorsports’s John Doonan and No. 25 Freedom driver Chad McCumbee.