Winning Streak Continues for Freiberg at Mid-Ohio

July 4, 2023

Shift Up Now Athlete Ashley Freiberg kept her winning streak alive in the Porsche Sprint Challenge North America presented by Yokohama at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 1-2, 2023. She earned her fifth win of the season on Saturday, and followed it up with her eighth podium finish on Sunday.

The Porsche Sprint Challenge series raced alongside the NTT Data IndyCar series on the 13- turn, 2.258-mile permanent road course.

Freiberg had two practice sessions on Friday to dial in the setup of her Shift Up Now liveried Porsche Cup Car. In the first session, her fastest lap time put the car P1 in the 991.2 class. She then repeated that lap time in session two, earning a P3 while several of her competitors made mock qualifying runs.

Qualifying took place on Saturday morning, with the fastest lap of the session setting the grid for race one, and second-fastest lap setting the grid for race two.

After an overnight rain, the racetrack was still slightly damp, creating tricky qualifying conditions for the field. The competitors rolled out on their sticker Yokohama tires, and quickly saw the track getting faster with each lap.

Unfortunately for Freiberg, she encountered traffic when the track was at its fastest near the end of qualifying. Lap times for the entire field were close and her time was third-fastest among her competitors. She would start third in the 991.2 class for race one and second for race two.

The green flag flew just after noon on Saturday for the first race. It was clean start for the field through the entire first series of corners. Freiberg made a safe and smart start, protecting her MDK Motorsports car, but found herself shuffled backwards to fourth in the class, and 14th overall.

As the race settled into a rhythm, Freiberg went to work putting pressure on her competitors. She passed cars methodically and continually progressed forward. With approximately 15 minutes remaining in the 40-minute race, a full-course caution flag flew. At that time, Freiberg was second in class, and just outside the top ten overall.

Ten minutes remained at the restart. Looking for the win, Freiberg made a strong restart, carried good speed through turn one, and then started to look outside the class leader at turn two.

Focusing on an exit, she executed an over/under move as the leader got a little loose getting to power off the turn. The pair ran side-by-side though the kink, and down the entire back straight to the brake zone for turn four. With neither driver willing to concede, both braked incredibly late, but left each other racing room. They ran through turn four side-by-side with Freiberg on the inside.

As the course switched back to the slow, left-hand turn five at the top of the hill, Freiberg tried to hang on around the outside. The pair again gave each other racing room, and as they exited turn five, Freiberg had the inside for turn six at the bottom of the hill. Finally, after intense racing for four corners, she completed the pass at the apex of turn 6.

Now in the lead, Freiberg immediately put her head down and passed one of her 992 competitors, putting another car between herself and the second-place car in the 991.2 class. It was then that a second full-course caution flew. And with that, the race came to an end with Freiberg earning the victory.

On Sunday, rain forced the field to start on Yokohama wet tires for the start of the second race. Several cars spun off track before the green flag even fell on the notoriously slick, slippery and treacherous track. When the field was gathered, race control called for lights out on the safety car in a single-file start.

Showing her skill and talent, Freiberg advanced to fourth overall among the faster and newer 992 Cup Cars during the green flag laps. She was chasing the leader in the 991.2 class just ahead of her, when another full-course caution flew. The race would end under yellow, with Freiberg taking a second-place finish in class. This would mark her eighth podium finish from eight races, and extend her Championship lead further.

“I really can’t thank my hard working MDK Motorsports crew enough for giving me a great race car for both races this weekend,” said Freiberg. “Every race event, we are constantly digging for more, and I feel that we only grow stronger as the season goes on.

“This was a tough event with mixed conditions and varying traffic that brought us new challenges, but we came out super strong on Saturday, and won the race after a hard fought battle. Unfortunately the yellow-flag laps hindered us on Sunday, but was still a great points weekend for the championship.

“I’m really excited to see how the rest of our season goes. I have to also give a huge thank you to my supporters: Yokohama Tire, Shift Up Now, Bell Helmets, and Trak Racer. Let’s go get this championship!”

The Porsche Spint Challenge North America presented by Yokohama is headed to Road America for the next round of the championship on August 11-13, 2023.

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