This past weekend at Virginia International Raceway was exciting with the IMSA event in town. The crowds were remarkable and the racing was intense.

I was teamed up with Freedom Autosport once again, and being back with them brought great memories for me since two years ago was a unique event in which I actually drove the entire race between two team cars, switching at the pit stop! VIR was also my first win in the Continental Tire Series with the Freedom team in 2009.

This weekend had its share of challenges with a few minor setbacks during the test day and qualifying, but it was nothing we couldn’t persevere through. After a less than favorable starting position of 11th, I knew it would be important to make quick work to push forward.

35_VIR2Quick work we did, as the opening laps were thrilling with things happening in all different directions. We found ourselves inside the top 5 in our No. 27 TRUMPF MX-5, then up to 3rd once the race settled into a rhythm. Of course it wasn’t without drama: just after the 30-minute mark, a slower GS-class car ran into the back bumper, sending our Mazda spinning. Before the dust had settled I had first gear and was rolling. I lost several positions, but luckily the car was still in good shape. While fighting back to 6th place, the yellow flag flew, which was prime timing for pit stops.

Britt Casey, Jr. jumped in, and with just 45 minutes remaining, he made a great restart, getting as high as 4th place. In the end however, the nimble handling of the MX-5 did not outpace the longer legs of some of the other cars, slipping back to finish just outside the top 10.

Overall, it was a finish that was not indicative of the performance, but still a solid points day as the championship battle tightens with only two races remaining! I look forward to seeing how it’ll unfold, as the next round is at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for a four-hour enduro. The team has quite a record to keep going when they travel “home” next month.