Michael Lira, the talented young racer from Port Orange, Florida, will take to the track for a full week of Pro-Late Model racing beginning February 14 at New Smyrna Speedway, as the .48-mile oval hosts the famous World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. The annual event, which features nine consecutive nights of racing, consistently draws the top talent from around North America.
Because the event coincides with Budweiser Speedweeks, which kicks off the NASCAR season minutes down the road at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR drivers are often in the field as well. The World Series has seen many of the current top names in NASCAR competing on the high-banked half-mile including Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman and Mark Martin.
Running in the No. 57 Gary Yeomans Ford, Lira will compete in a total of seven Pro-Late Model races, highlighted by a 50-lap race on February 17 and a 100-lap race on February 20. Lira has had a lot of success so far in his Pro-Late Model career. In 2012, he was the 2012 Pro-Late Model Rookie of the Year. And, in his first career Pro-Late Model race, a 100-lap event, he scored a top-5 finish.
“I’m really excited for the World Series to get underway, especially the longer 50-lap and 100-lap races,” Lira said. “New Smyrna Speedway is only a few miles from the MLR shop, so it’s right in my backyard, and it’s basically where I’ve grown up racing. The crowd is always awesome and everyone wants to do well when the big NASCAR names show up. Hopefully I’ll put on a good show for the hometown fans.”
The World Series at New Smyrna Speedway will be Lira’s final step in a long off-season of preparation for the upcoming 2014 ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards. Lira plans to run 14 races in the No. 69 Gary Yeomans Ford with Kimmel Racing, one of the premier teams in the ARCA Racing Series. His crew chief, ARCA legend Bill Kimmel, won eight consecutive ARCA championships as the crew chief for his brother Frank. Lira’s season in the national touring series kicks off March 22, 2014, in the ARCA Mobile 200 at Mobile International Speedway. In December, Lira got his first taste of a superspeedway, when he was granted special permission to run the No. 69 in a weekend of ARCA Racing Series testing sessions at Daytona International Speedway.
Lira will also be competing for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Championship at New Smyrna Speedway.
“In the past, we haven’t been able to focus on points racing in the late model with the busy ARCA schedule,” Lira said. “But, this year we will be able to run enough NASCAR WAAS races to be eligible for the championship (minimum of 18 starts).”
In addition to his time behind the wheel, Lira has been busy raising support for his team off the track. Lira is campaigning to “get out the vote” as he seeks a spot on “Team Champion” in the Champion Spark Plugs “Search for a Champion.” Internet voting is open now through February 2 and fans of the Florida driver can help him reach the next level in his career at www.VoteForMichaelLira.com.
“Sponsorship is such an important part of racing,” Lira said. “The Champion ‘Search for a Champion’ program will award 15 drivers with funding for their 2014 seasons. Participating in the contest is a lot of fun and I am hoping we can drum up enough support to help us with the funding we need to be successful.”
For a full schedule of the upcoming events at New Smyrna Speedway, visit their website.