Sixteen-year-old race car driver Michael Lira got all he could handle this weekend at Salem Speedway. In his second ARCA Racing Series event of the season, the Spruce Creek High School student from Port Orange, Florida, earned a top-10 qualifying spot, but hit the wall after an on-track incident during the Federated Auto Parts ARCA 200 presented by Crunch ‘N Nutter, spoiling his hopes of improving upon last year’s 7th place finish at Salem.
“We had a great car in practice, better than last year,” Lira said. “The car was nearly perfect and (crew chief) Bill (Kimmel) and I were happy as could be. We had a pretty good qualifying run, picked up from practice, which is always the goal. But, during the race it was so tight I could barely keep it off the wall.”
Lira fought hard to control the tight race car, and a strong driving effort from the young racer kept the No. 68 Gary Yeomans Ford Fusion out of trouble early in the race. Unfortunately, the toll that this early battle took on the race car would ultimately lead to the team’s demise.
“The first caution came out and we put two tires on with adjustments,” Lira said. “That seemed to solve the problem, but by then, I had wasted my brakes from being so tight. When that car cut down on me, I didn’t have enough brakes to stop.”
Lira was squeezed going into turn one, and with nowhere to go and no brakes to slow down, both cars ended up in the wall. The Kimmel Racing crew quickly pulled the car into the garage and went to work on repairs, but unfortunately a broken brake rotor signaled the end of the team’s day. Lira finished in 18th place overall.
“It wasn’t the result we were hoping for,” Lira said. “But, just because the race didn’t go the way we planned, doesn’t mean that there weren’t a lot of positives that we can take from the weekend going forward. Any time you show up at the track with a car that you’re confident in, that’s a good thing. We had good practices and a strong qualifying run. A lot can happen during a race that you can’t control. You prepare as much as you can, but sometimes it’s just not your day. We’ve got a really strong team here at Kimmel Racing, and we’ve got a lot of time to regroup before the next race. I know we’ll show up at Toledo with a great car and a great chance to win.”
The Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care at Toledo Speedway is the next stop for Michael Lira on the ACRA Racing Series schedule. It will be Lira’s first career start at the half-mile Toledo, Ohio, short track, and his third ARCA event of the 2014 season. The race is scheduled for May 18, 2014, at 2:00 PM EDT and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1.
For the most up-to-date news and information about Michael Lira Racing visit www.MichaelLiraRacing.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @LiraRacing and @1MichaelLira and keep up with the teams Facebook page at /MichaelLiraRacingOfficial.
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