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Aug 05, 2014 - 04:02 PM
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17-Year-Old Lira Returns To Scene Of ARCA Debut
Posted by: newsla on Aug 05, 2014 - 03:55 PM
17-Year-Old Lira Returns To Scene Of ARCA Debut; Kimmel Racing Ready For Federated Auto Parts 200 Saturday At Berlin

When you think restrictor plates, you think big - like Daytona and Talladega. But, believe it or not, many teams think the Berlin Raceway little track too.


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"We'll probably run a tapered spacer (at Berlin)," said Bill Kimmel, whose Kimmel Racing team fields a two-car operation for his son Will Kimmel and Port Orange, Florida's Michael Lira.


"You can't get the car hooked up at Berlin if you don't restrict the power somehow; there's too much horsepower on these ARCA cars.

"Some do that with the carburetor...some use restrictor plates...we'll probably go with the tapered spacer.

"We'll make it handle as smooth as possible for him."

The 'him' in this regard is 17-year-old Michael Lira, who made his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards debut at Berlin last year. That said, Lira finally gets to go back to a track he's raced at before.

"I'm definitely feeling more comfortable returning to a track I've already raced on," Lira said.

"In the beginning, figuring out Berlin was tough, but in the end, I came to like it a lot."

Lira finished 12th in his series debut at Berlin in 2013.

"It took me most of the race to figure it out, but the biggest thing I learned about Berlin was how to use the aprons in the corners. You've got to use the aprons coming off the turns to get a straight shot down the straightaways. If you're still turning down the straightaways, you're too loose, and it kills your run."

Outside of figuring out the tricky Berlin short-track, Lira also learned that limiting the engines helps the handling.

"We got the chance to test there last year. I was having handling issues. So we actually put a plate on it and it fixed my handling issues. It felt completely different, but a lot better."

Kimmel Racing is coming to Berlin with some serious momentum, having finished second with Will at Pocono and 10th with Lira.

It was Lira's first race experience on a superspeedway.

"I loved it (Pocono). It's one of my favorite tracks now. You carry so much speed there; I can't wait to do it again."

Lira, of course, will have to wait another year before he goes back to Pocono. But, fortunately, he gets to go back to Berlin this Saturday (August 9) for the Federated Auto Parts 200.

"You go from using not a lot of brakes and a lot of gas (at Pocono) to not a lot of gas and a lot of brakes (at Berlin). It's completely the opposite but that's what makes ARCA so interesting and fun.

"I've done a lot of racing like this (on short tracks), so I'll be comfortable going to Berlin...nothing like Pocono."

The 200-lap race at Berlin begins at 8:30 p.m. eastern, with live audio coverage and live timing and scoring featured on ARCAracing.com.

Frank Kimmel is the leading winner at the track, with three victories (1999, 2003, 2004).

Expected entrants also include NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader, ARCA point leader Mason Mitchell, Galesburg, Illinois' AJ Fike, Mobile, Alabama's Grant Enfinger, Baltimore, Maryland's Justin Boston, leading SCOTT Rookie contender Austin Wayne Self and many more.

Former ARCA winners at Berlin include Nelson Stacy, Iggy Katona, Ramo Stott, Bob and Brian Keselowski, Tim Steele, Fred Campbell, Scott Speed, Joey Coulter and Erik Jones to name a few.

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