Michael Lira completed another successful test session at Daytona International Speedway this morning, mid-way through Day 2 of testing with the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. In a field of nearly 50 drivers, the 16-year-old Port Orange native posted a top speed of 178.788 mph, good enough for 23rd overall.
The No. 69 team has been very pleased so far with how their Gary Yeomans Ford Ford Fusion has performed on the race track, and feels confident about their progress going forward.
“The car is running well and Michael is doing a great job,” said crew chief Bill Kimmel. “He’s already improved a lot after just one day behind the wheel. We’re working hard to give him the best car, and his communication with us as far as how the car is handling out there has been very good. The more he continues to run, the better he’ll be able to communicate to us what the car needs, and he’ll just keep getting better.”
For Lira, Day 2 of testing presents a chance to really dig in and put the car through its paces without the distraction of first-day jitters.
“On the first day, you’re a little nervous,” Lira said. “It was my first time on the track, the highest speeds I’ve reached in a race car, and there was definitely a more cautious approach on my part. Going into this morning though, I had a different mentality. I felt like I could just get in the car and race, and I’m trying to turn better lap times every time we go back out on the track.”
Lira’s bolstered confidence showed this morning, as he improved seven spots in the speed charts from yesterday’s ranking, besting more than half of the field this time around in only his second career test day at Daytona.
“I’m expecting it to take a while until I can get comfortable enough to where I don’t have to lift in the corners,” Lira said. “But, I’m excited about the progress that we’ve made so far, and I feel better than I did yesterday.”
While Lira will not be eligible to race at the world-famous Daytona International Speedway for a few more years due to the 18-year minimum age requirement to compete in superspeedway events, this weekend’s testing sessions provide valuable seat time for the young driver.
“The more track time I get here, the more prepared I’ll be once I’m allowed to compete,” Lira said. “It’s an exciting opportunity. Can’t wait until the real racing begins.”
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will continue test sessions at Daytona International Speedway this afternoon and finish up with another full day of testing tomorrow.