Wounded Marine Amputee Wins In IMSA, Another Motorsports Legend Dies, and Biggest Motorsports Weekend of the Year!

 

Episode 7 May 26, 2014

Marine Staff Sargent Liam Dwyer formerly from Litchfield, Connecticut celebrated the third anniversary of his “Alive Day” with a first place finish in the International Motor Sports Association’s Continental Tire  Sports Car Challenge’s Street Tuner class at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut. Dwyer and co-driver Tom Long drove their Freedom Autosports Mazda MX-5 to victory in the 250 mile professional series road race last Thursday.

Dwyer lost his left leg three years ago in Afghanistan after stepping on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). He drives with a prothesis which starts just above his left knee. A bracket and a loop and closure strap keeps his foot in contact with the clutch. Dwyer is still on active duty and undergoes 4 to 5 hours of rehab daily at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Lead on soldier! My hat is off to all our wounded warriors and military personnel. May God bless you.

Motorsports Legend AJ Watson passes away

Another motorsports legend passed away last week; A.J. Watson (1924-2014) at the age of 88 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Watson came to prominence as a car builder in 1956 when his first Watson built Indy racer driven by Pat Flaherty took the pole position and went to Victory Circle. The year before Watson was a Chief Mechanic on a Kurtis Craft Indy Roadster. “I’m not ashamed to say I copied Kurtis but I think I made it better, Watson said in a 1986 Indianapolis Star interview. ” We made it better and narrower, and it worked.” In the 50′s and 60′s a Watson roadster was the Indy car of choice having won the Indy 500 five times and garnered three United States Auto (USAC) championships.

I came very close to meeting AJ during one of my many Indy trips when I asked another legend M.D. Van Steenwyk (Van Craft Restorations) aka “Van the Body Man” to contact his friend Watson for a meeting with my FFA students and I. Van said AJ was reluctant to meet since his health was failing and he would rather be remembered for who he was rather than a frail old man, thus no meeting.

WAR Places Second

County connected Wyatt Alexander placed second at the NELCAR race at Wiscasset Motor Speedway last Sunday. Alexander won his heat race earlier in the day. WAR races at Oxford Motor Speedway today, Monday.

Kody Swanson Wins Again!

Kody Swanson celebrates his win at the Hoosier 100 on the 1-mile dirt track at the Indiana State Fairgrouds in Indianapolis, Indiana. The race was part of the events leading up to the 98th running of the Indy 500. Swanson won 2 of his last three races. He placed second in the other of the three races. Photo courtesy of Rich Forman Photography.

Kody Swanson celebrates his win at the Hoosier 100 on the 1-mile dirt track at the Indiana State Fairgrouds in Indianapolis, Indiana. The race was part of the events leading up to the 98th running of the Indy 500. Swanson won 2 of his last three races. He placed second in the other of the three races. Pictured from left to right Mike and Darla Swanson (Dad and Mom), Jordan Swanson (Kody’s wife), Swanson, Glenda and Jim Oliver (Grandparents).  Photo courtesy of Rich Forman Photography.

My friend Kody Swanson wins again last Wednesday at the Hoosier 100 USAC Silver Crown Sprint Car series at the famous one mile dirt track at Indiana State Fairgrounds. He has won or placed second in his last three races. The California native had previously barrel rolled at the track  a couple of years ago and now came back to Victory Circle. The race at the Indiana State Fairgrounds was a part of the motorsports mania surrounding the Indy 500 on Sunday. Several sprint car and midget car races in the area provided fans lots racing action in the days leading up to the best known race on the planet, the Indy 500.
Speaking of Indy!

If you have not heard Ryan Hunter-Reay, driver for Team Andretti Green Racing, won the 98th Indy 500 by less than a car length over three-time winner Helio Castroneves who drives for Penske. The relative caution free race saw Hunter-Reay swap the lead with Castroneves at over 224 miles per hour over the last laps of the race. Andretti Green’s Honda powered cars took four of the top six spots in the race .

And in other National Events. 

The Monaco Grand Prix Formula One race saw Nico Rosberg on the top stair of the Victory Circle ceremony. His Merecedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton placed second. As a result of the finish order Rosberg leads Hamilton 122 to 118 in the F1 Drivers Championship.

In my opinion Monaco is the most fun to watch F1 race in the series. Tight corners and a narrow racetrack lends itself to bumping and hard braking to pass. Maybe someone out there will sponsor a trip for yours truly someday.

In NASCAR Sprint Cup competition, Jimmie Johnson silenced some of the talk about him not winning yet with a strong performance at the Coca Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. Johnson beat Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth to all but cement his place in the Race to the Chase this fall. Johnson is the favorite to win whenever NASCAR visits the Charlotte track.

In NHRA Drag racing action from the Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kansas; Courtney Force’s win in Funny Car was the 100th professional victory for females. Courtney, daughter of  John Force the owner and fellow driver at John Force Racing, beat Cruz Pedragon in the final with a 4.148 second 306.46 run.

Spenser Massey driving for Don Schumacher Racing  defeated Shawn Langdon of Al-Anabi Racing  in Top Fuel Dragsters.

Allen Johnson in his Mopar Dart beat Jeg Coughlin with a 6.663 second 207.18 run to win the Pro Stock crown.

Let’s go racing!

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria

 

Tom Hale

About Tom Hale

For the past 14 years, Tom has written freelance for the Bangor Daily sports covering motorsports in Maine.