Michael Lira in NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program; starts this week

Michael Lira in NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program; starts this week

(TOLEDO, Ohio – October 13, 2014) – ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards driver Michael Lira is preparing for his next big opportunity – the chance to participate in this year’s NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) program, which begins Monday, October 13. 

Under the leadership of Rev Racing owner Max Siegel, the Drive for Diversity combine has evolved into an academy-style development program. Lira, a Peruvian-American driver who does the majority of his professional racing in the ARCA Racing Series, was one of 20 multicultural and female drivers from the United States, Canada and Latin America invited to the Drive for Diversity combine. At 17, Lira was one of the youngest drivers invited to participate. 

Beyond demonstrating the necessary skills in a racecar, the program also focuses on media training, interview techniques and physical fitness. 

“It’s really an interesting program; I’m really fortunate to have been selected,” Lira said. “They only select 20 drivers from a couple hundred applicants, so I’m really honored to be part of the Drive for Diversity program.” 

Lira’s admission to D4D comes at a good time considering the Port Orange, Florida driver won the Pro Late Model race at New Smyrna Speedway this past Saturday night. 

“Winning at New Smyrna should give us some momentum. It doesn’t look like we’ll get on the track (Langley (VA) Speedway) until tomorrow. I understand we’ll do a track walk with drivers who have raced there, but other than that, I’m not sure. They don’t give you a lot of information…keeps you on your toes.” 

Prior to getting on track Tuesday, Lira and the other contestants will be headed to Hampton University Monday afternoon. 

“First, they have us go to Hampton College for some media training…I think we’ll be doing some mock interviews. There’ll also be a physical fitness assessment, so that should all be very helpful.” 

Lira was one of more than 200 drivers who applied for the program. 

“I had to send in a resume, which included a video of some of my racing. You also had to submit a self-introductory video of yourself so they could listen to you speak.” 

Ultimately winning the competition could provide opportunities to compete in full seasons in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series tour and/or in late model competition. 

Michael Lira Car Shot at Pocono Raceway 2014“As I understand it, there will be some K&N seats to be filled and a couple late model seats open for Langley and Hickory Motor Speedway.” 

Lira has shown a great deal of promise running for Kimmel Racing in the ARCA Racing Series, earning a string of top-10 finishes in his rookie campaign. The highlight of his 2014 ARCA season came in his superspeedway debut at Pocono Raceway, where he qualified a career-best fourth before going on to score a ninth-place finish in the ModSpace 125. 

“This could end up being a big break for me…essentially a K&N ride for a full season. I’ve learned so much racing in ARCA, with the Kimmels…I can’t tell you how much that all means to me. They do such an amazing job. I really feel like I’m ready for this next challenge, and even more so having trained with Kimmel Racing.” 

In recent years, the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program has been a hotbed for some of the most promising young talent in the sport. Drivers like NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Kyle Larson and three-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race winner Darrell Wallace Jr. are both products of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, and Lira hopes to follow in their footsteps. 

“This is such an amazing opportunity,” Lira added. “I’ve seen how Kyle Larson and Darrell Wallace Jr. have progressed and what they’ve achieved and I really aspire to make it to that level.” 

The program continues to grow each season. 

“This year’s Combine applicant pool was among the strongest the program has seen, and we continue to see that year over year,” Max Siegel said. “The program’s visibility and reputation for developing young, female and diverse drivers with talent and growth potential has increased across the board, and we are seeing steady recognition and support from key stakeholders across the motorsports industry.” 

The Drive for Diversity Combine will be held at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia, October 13 – 15, 2014, where drivers will compete for a spot in the 2015 NASCAR D4D Class in partnership with Rev Racing. Drivers will be individually evaluated based on several criteria, such as overall speed, instinctive positioning on various parts of the race track, the ability to communicate feedback to the crew chief and the ability to shift during assessments. For a live streaming schedule of the Combine, visit FansChoice.tv. For more information on Michael Lira, visit www.MichaelLiraRacing.com, follow Michael on Twitter at @LiraRacing or @1MichaelLira and check out the team’s Facebook page at /MichaelLiraRacingOfficial.

@DonRadebaugh
dradebaugh@arcaracing.com

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