For Samantha the Southampton, PA driver it all started for her when she was five years old. It was then that her dad took her to a driver’s experience at the Blackbird Quarter Midget Race Club. It was Samantha and a team of boys that took on the competition. What turned out was, it got Samantha hooked and out of the group she’s the only one racing. Her father is still not sure and will keep asking her “Do you really want to do this?” Well, that was twelve years ago and she still behind the wheel of a race car and that will never change.
Her very first race came at the same speedway and finished in the runner-up spot, maybe the boys saw what Samantha was capable of doing and just took to the sidelines.
Samantha spent seven years in the Quarter Midgets, before moving up to the 125cc/270cc in the Micro Sprints. Lieberman then moved up to the 305’s Sprint cars and this year will be her Sophomore season in the TSRS Sprint Car Division.
Moving up through the ranks, Lieberman showed progress and in 2011 was named “Driver of the Year” She finished up in third place in points in the 125cc, where the year before she finished up in the fifth spot. Her first year (2015) in the TSRS Sprints she placed twelfth out of forty-two drivers, so you can see the improvement.
Throughout her years in racing nothing has really given her the sense of achievement other than helping out other people. “Statistics are nice to have, but I have always loved mentoring the younger generations and helping them progress in their careers,” stated Lieberman. “Kids just have a way of opening your mind and seeing racing through a different perspective. A lot of people get so caught up in the politics of racing and lose sight of what’s really important, to have fun and do what we love to do, “RACE,” commented Lieberman.
Samantha did something a lot of drivers don’t really do anymore, she went back to where she started at the Blackbird Quarter Midget Race Track. That’s where she met the Stansell family and their 5-year old daughter Neila. Samantha saw so much of herself in Neila that she wanted to mentor her. “She is absolutely in love with racing, just like I was at five years old, although she’s a little hesitant about being aggressive, I see great things in her,” Lieberman commented on Neila. “I really look forward to experiencing her big moments in her career,” finished up Lieberman.
About two years ago Lieberman met Cheyenne Robicheux when she first started out in the 125 Micro Sprints at Airport Speedway. Cheyenne started a campaign titled “Racers against Bullying” in memory of her friend Destiny. “In the short time I’ve known the two of them, I have grown so close to both of these lovely ladies and they both have such a bright career in front of them both. Words can’t express how proud I am of them,” stated Lieberman. “To be able to help someone else reach their goals are a great accomplishment than any title could give me,” explained Lieberman.
So with everything that Samantha does and did throughout her career, I asked her to pick her one outstanding memory in her career. In 2012 she was racing a 125cc Micro Sprint at Airport Speedway in Delaware. Up to that point Samantha and her team really had a rough start to her rookie season in the 125cc but on August 8th, 2012 she got her first “Big Car” win. “I know no matter what happens, my dad is and has always been proud of me. However, I feel as though I have always had extremely high expectations of myself. That night after all the frustration I have at that point of the season, I finally felt that I met them with that win,” explained Lieberman. With that win, Lieberman noticed that after that consistent runs followed up with wins and everything started to fall into place. Since that point in her career, that was a “Big Car” win, but compared to what she’s in now, she really is looking for that “Big Car” win.
Now in her second year in the TSRS Sprints, Samantha along with her team have set up goals for the season. “As a team, I can speak for all of us and say our goals for this season are just basic. We are looking for consistent finishes. Being a rookie last year in the series, I was learning from the best in the business. TSRS has some of the most experienced, talented and the most competitive drivers there is. So as a team we are shooting for top-fives and hopefully our first Sprint Car win,” Lieberman summed it up.
What is the future for Samantha? “Ideally I’d love to see myself in a 410 Sprint Car, from where we are right now that’s a big dream, but so long I’m behind the wheel fast forward in five years, I’ll be happy.” Confessed Lieberman.
Talking about the fan base, Samantha wanted to let the fans know that she’s really a people person, but once that helmet is on, she turns from a people person to a Sprint Car driver. “If I’m at a track near you or at an event you’re attending, come say Hi, I love meeting new people,” Samantha said about the fan base. “I have T-Shirts for sale everywhere I go, if I’m not in your area I’ll ship one out to you. Apparel is one of the best ways to support us, drivers,” continued Lieberman.
For the 2016 season, Samantha will be in a Maxim Chassis, Speed Equipment powered 305 Sprint Car owned and crewed by Joe Grandinetti. James Lieberman and Al Knaus will also supply their help in the pits.
Sponsoring the #23 Sprint Car you’ll find the names Craig Neri Construction, Robbie’s Automotive Warehouse, United Auto Parts, Flip ‘N Shakes Grille, Aldo’s Pizzeria and Glasgow Inc.
Closing Samantha wants to finish off with thanking a slew of people that been behind her. “I have a lot of people behind the scenes that do a lot for me. I’m beyond thankful to all of them. First one is my crew, Al Jim (my Dad) and my Grand Pop Joe, have done so much for me so I can follow my dreams. I truly do not know where I would be without them,” said Lieberman. “Up next is my mom, even though I drive her nuts with my addiction with the adrenaline rush racing gives me, she supports my passion no matter what. “I’d also like to thank my sister (Sara), for sacrificing so much for me to be able to do what I love. Growing up, she always spent her time at the track supporting me, even though she’s older now she’s still my biggest fan,” she explained on her family. “Lastly I want to thank Neri Construction; he has been with me since I was five years old and he is very dear to me and played a huge part in my career,” finished up Lieberman.
When Samantha has free time you can find her down by the creek near her house spending her time with friends. Plus, she is in cosmetology school and spends time working on her skills.
You can find Samantha on Facebook @Samantha Lieberman, where her site is very fan friendly. Samantha updates her page after each and every event she partakes in.
Needless to say after talking with Samantha, only one word popped up, ”IMPRESSIVE”. So if the TSRS Series is at a track near you, a stop by her pits should be on your list to do at the track.
Story by Alan Piquette
Photos by Samantha Lieberman