Michael Lira heads to Winchester, Indiana, this weekend as the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards takes to Winchester Speedway for the Herr’s Chase the Taste 200. The talented 16-year-old racer from Port Orange, Florida, already has two top-10 finishes this season with Kimmel Racing, and he’ll be looking to add to that count as he tests his skills at the historic Winchester Speedway for the first time.
“I’ve heard a lot about Winchester Speedway,” Lira said. “I can’t say I know all the history behind it, just that there’s a lot of it. I know they run some big super late model races there.”
With the exceptions of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and The Milwaukee Mile, Winchester Speedway is the oldest operating speedway in the United States. The half-mile paved oval in White River Township, Randolph County, just outside Winchester, Indiana, was built before World War I and occupies a prominent place in American motorsports history.
For Lira, however, the focus is on the now.
“I’ll prepare for this race the same way that I’ve prepared for of all the other tracks I’ve not been to yet,” Lira said. “I’ve never seen the place, but that’s been pretty standard for pretty much all the ARCA tracks. I’ll definitely watch as much in-car video as I can, whatever’s available on YouTube. That’s what I did with Elko Speedway. I’ll find last year’s ARCA race at Winchester online and I’ll watch that too.”
Lira has a wealth of knowledge at his disposal via his Kimmel Racing team. His crew chief is veteran ARCA crew chief Bill Kimmel, who won eight straight ARCA championships with his brother Frank Kimmel. Lira will also seek the counsel of his teammate and mentor Will Kimmel.
“Will tells me it’s a lot like three and four at Salem, and I love that part about Salem. I know they’ll have a good set-up under me. They know the track very well, even if I don’t. I’ll definitely be bothering Will with as many questions as I can. I’m sure we’ll walk the track once too. We (Will Kimmel and Lira) walked two laps at Elko and talked through every possible scenario. I’d really like to do that at Winchester. I’m sure I need to.”
This weekend will be all about confidence for the up-and-coming Lira. With five ARCA races under his belt in 2014, Lira’s confidence has grown tremendously.
“I know Winchester is a special track, but I can’t let it scare me,” Lira said. “I can’t let it intimidate me. I’ve just got to go to Winchester with a good, positive attitude, and be as attentive as I can be and learn as much as I can in practice.”
The Herr’s Chase the Taste 200 presented by Federated Car Care is scheduled for Sunday, July 6, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. EDT. The event will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.