Paired with different teammates, the Lime Rock-winning duo look for another win.
When Hollywood scripts a racing movie, they tend to go overboard. Having an injured U.S. Marine Staff sergeant winning a professional race, in only his second start, just miles from where he grew up, on the third anniversary of his ‘Alive Day’, after 50 surgeries since that injury, on Memorial Day weekend. Who would believe that? Believe it, as that’s exactly what happened to Liam Dwyer and his Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 when he co-drove with Tom Long to the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Street Tuner win in late May at Lime Rock Park.
Now this weekend, at VIRginia International Raceway, Dwyer will be back behind the wheel of the No. 27 Freedom Autosport Semper Fi Fund Mazda MX-5, this time teamed with Randy Pobst, who has already scored two wins this season with Andrew Carbonell. The two-and-a-half hour race will start at 2:00 pm (Eastern) on Saturday, August 23. Mazda will be broadcasting LIVE on-board footage from the Dwyer/Pobst car on the Mazda YouTube channel.
“VIR is one of a few balanced tracks the Continental Tire Series races on,” says Dwyer. “There are long straightaways for the cars with power, but a lot of technical and heavy braking areas where the Mazda MX-5 will really shine. For this race we tweaked the driver line-ups a bit where I will not be driving with Tom Long, instead I get the pleasure to drive with one of my racing heroes, Randy Pobst. I am very excited for this opportunity as I’ve watched Randy as a child/teenager race. Randy is extremely fast and already has two wins to his credit this season with Andrew Carbonell. My plan is to get the car setup to where he will be comfortable in it, and give him the car hopefully up towards the front of the field where he can bring home another win.”
Liam Dwyer lost the lower portion of his left leg when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan in May of 2011. After 50+ surgeries, and being told he would never drive a manual transmission car, Liam never gave up. The Freedom Autosport team devised a quick-release mechanism such that Liam’s leg is directly connected to the clutch pedal, but can be disconnected for a driver change, or if he needs to escape quickly from the car. For 2014, a three-race schedule was developed to get Liam up to speed with the car and the team.
VIR is also a good opportunity for Long, who will team up with Carbonell. Long, a native of Raleigh, N.C., practically makes his home at the Virginia track, spending many days coaching at the circuit. Teamed with Carbonell, it’s a formidable pairing at a track Long knows well. A local TV station interviewed Long as a preview for the race; the story can be seen here.