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Aug 19, 2014 - 02:29 PM
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Freedom Autosport: VIR Homecoming, Staff Sgt. Liam Dwyer Ready to Race
Posted by: newsla on Aug 19, 2014 - 02:24 PM
USCR News
Freedom Autosport: VIR Homecoming, Staff Sgt. Liam Dwyer Ready to Race


Freedom Autosport went to Road America two weeks ago knowing that it was not one of their strongest tracks on the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge schedule, but the results proved otherwise when they earned a third-place finish. Now, the team is bringing their trio of Mazda MX-5s to Virginia International Raceway with high hopes of earning even better results.

 

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Freedom Autosport has every right to set high expectations for VIR: the team got their first ST class victory there in 2009 with co-drivers Tom Long and Derek Whitis. In 2011, Andrew Carbonell and Rhett O’Doski finished third at VIR.

Carbonell was also one half of the team responsible for Freedom Autosport’s third place at Road America two weeks ago – he and Randy Pobst had an outstanding day in the No. 26 Mazda MX-5. For VIR, Carbonell will have a new co-driver in Tom Long. In addition to being the site of Long’s first series win, VIR is also the home track for him and the team, which is based in nearby Raleigh, North Carolina.

“It’s really exciting to be back in a Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5,” says Long. “I have been around those cars for so many years now that racing them is really second nature. I had a great race at Lime Rock in my last outing with the team, so I’m really excited for what’s to come at VIR. It’s my home track, so I’ll have a lot of family and friends there.”

“Overall, it’s more of a racer’s track now because there are more opportunities,” says Carbonell of the recently repaved VIR. “VIR is an interesting track because it’s a mix of high speed and low speed handling, and it has been a good place for us. Now, with the wider pavement, I think it will be even better for an MX-5. We can find additional passing opportunities in the corners.”

Long’s most recent outing in a Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 was at Lime Rock in May, where he and U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Liam Dwyer claimed the ST victory. Dwyer will be teaming up with Pobst in the No. 27 Mazda MX-5. Mazda will be broadcasting live on-board footage from the No. 27 on the Mazda YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/mazda.

Mark and Mat Pombo will co-drive the No. 25 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5. They had a solid run at Road America before a mechanical setback, and they finished fourth in round eight at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mark Pombo has already helped Freedom Autosport earn a podium at VIR: he first drove with the team during the 2009 race there, finishing third along with co-driver Carbonell.

Pobst sums up Freedom Autosport’s outlook for Saturday’s race, saying, “Our major goal is to get all of the cars on the podium, and I think it’s possible. The track should serve us well.”

The 2.5-hour Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race gets underway at VIR on Saturday, August 22, at 2:05 p.m. ET. It will also be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 at 10:00 a.m. on August 31.

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