Michael Lira, the Spruce Creek High School student and professional race car driver in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, tied his best career result at Berlin Raceway this past weekend with a 12th-place finish in the Federated Auto Parts 200. The seventeen-year-old rookie driver for Kimmel Racing has already piloted the No. 69 Gary Yeomans Ford Fusion to three top-10 finishes this season, including an impressive 10th-place finish in his superspeedway debut at Pocono Raceway, but has yet to crack the top 10 at Berlin Raceway.
“It was a tough race and the team battled hard,” Lira said. “We were looking for another top-10, but there were some good cars on the track and it was tough to pass. I’m happy with the result though and proud of my team.”
Lira began the race weekend with a 13th-place qualifying run.
Berlin Raceway was also the site of Lira’s ARCA Racing Series debut in 2013. Lira finished 12th in that race as well. Unlike most of the tracks that he has competed on this season on the ARCA circuit, Berlin Raceway was one that he had raced on before.
“It was nice to finally get to race on a track that I had competed on previously,” Lira said. “It’s a different feel when you’ve been there before. You’re a little more relaxed and you can really focus in on what you want to do on the race track. Almost every track that I’ve been to with ARCA this year has been my track debut. I’ve learned so much this year, and I really appreciate the quality of the tracks that we get to race on the ARCA circuit. The experience that I’ll be able to take into next year is very exciting.”
Lira remains locked in a tight battle for a top spot in the SCOTT Rookie Challenge. His season-best finishes of 9th have come at Toledo Speedway and Mobile International Speedway and his 10th-place run at Pocono Raceway also included a 4th-place qualifying result that surprised everyone.
“The experience at Pocono was a definite high point for me this season,” Lira said. “To finish in the top 10 in my first superspeedway race was a great feeling. And the fourth-place qualifying run was unreal. I kept looking up at the scoring tower like there was some sort of mistake. The real credit there goes to the Kimmel Racing team that I have behind me. They put out incredible cars week after week. You saw Will (Kimmel) finish second at Pocono with a chance to win at the end. It really is a pleasure to race for a team like Kimmel.”
For the latest news and information, follow Michael on Twitter at @LiraRacing and @1Michael Lira. You can also find him on Facebook at /MichaelLiraRacingOfficial.