Michael Lira heads to Elko, Minnesota, this weekend for the the Akona 250 presented by Federated Car Care at Elko Speedway. The sixteen-year-old Spruce Creek High School student from Port Orange, Florida, is off to a hot start in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. Driving the No. 68 Gary Yeomans Ford Fusion for Kimmel Racing, Lira has already scored two Top 10s in only four starts.
This will be Lira’s first ARCA start since the road course race at New Jersey Motorsports Park on June 1, and his first ARCA start on an oval track since finishing ninth at Toledo Speedway more than a month ago. The brief hiatus comes as a result of ARCA age restrictions. Lira, who is only 16, is not permitted to compete at tracks more than 1.5 miles in length until he turns 17. The last two ARCA races have been held at 2-mile Michigan International Speedway and 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway, so Lira has been resigned to the role of spectator for the time being.
“I’m excited to get back out there and compete,” Lira said. “I’ve been racing a lot during this mini-break from ARCA, running some local Pro Late races at New Smyrna Speedway and testing at Pocono, but I love racing the ARCA car and I can’t wait for Saturday night. I feel confident going to Elko. We’ve been strong on short tracks this season and I think we’ll definitely be shooting for a top-5 finish.”
Lira was the youngest driver to participate in the open testing session at Pocono Raceway, an experience that will prove invaluable when he returns to the “Tricky Triangle” in August as a 17 year old. This weekend’s race at Elko Speedway will be a learning experience for Lira as well, as he makes his first start at the Minnesota short track.
“I’m looking forward to battling an unfamiliar track,” Lira said. “Even though it’ll be my first time racing there, I feel like I’m up to the challenge. I’m confident that we can run well and get a good result.”
The Akona 250 presented by Federated Car Care is scheduled for Saturday, June 21, 2014, at 9:00 p.m. EDT. The event will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network. It will be the third time that Elko Speedway has hosted the ARCA Racing Series.
For more information about Michael Lira follow him on Twitter at @LiraRacing and @1MichaelLira, and find him on Facebook at /MichaelLiraRacingOfficial.