Four years after they met on a battlefield, Sgt. Liam Dwyer and Sgt. Aaron Denning were together celebrating a last-lap victory by Dwyer and Andrew Carbonell in the ST class of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Denning saved Dwyer’s life on May 22, 2011, in Afghanistan. U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant Liam Dwyer stepped on an explosive, severing his right leg above the knee and severely injuring his right arm. Marine Sergeant Aaron Denning put tourniquets on both of Dwyer’s legs and arm and helped carry the wounded soldier 100 yards to a helicopter.
Denning later suffered serious injuries in combat. They kept in touch. Seeing how racing helped Dwyer’s recovery, Denning began playing hockey despite brain and back injuries.
Until this weekend, Denning had never seen Dwyer race. Denning was a guest of Mazda for the race weekend – waving the green flag – and was there to witness Dwyer’s team win after Carbonell passed Tom Long, who had been Dwyer’s co-driver when Dwyer scored his first win last year, on the last lap.