Notes & Quotes from SCOTT 150; Self-made man Carlos Lira celebrates in Chicagoland
Notes & Quotes from SCOTT 150; Self-made man Carlos Lira celebrates in Chicagoland
(TOLEDO, Ohio – June 21, 2015) – Anymore, ARCA winners come from all over the globe. Carlos Lira, the man in charge at Lira Motorsports, was born and raised in Lima, Peru. He immigrated to the United States as a young man to attend Miami University where he graduated with a degree in Business Administration. From there, he set no limits along the way en route to his career-first ARCA victory Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway. Lira, who fielded three Ford Fusions in the race, got to celebrate in Victory Lane as winner of the SCOTT 150 with driver Ryan Reed. It was also Reed’s career-first ARCA win.
It was not, however, Lira’s first win in motorsports. Lira, who also fields ARCA cars for fifth in points David Levine, his son Michael Lira and for John Lowinski-Loh, has been racing since he was 18, earning five national championships in SCCA Ford Mustang road course competition. Lira is also a veteran of Grand Am, the Rolex Sports Car Series, the Pirelli World Challenge and more. His racing interests do not end with the ARCA Racing Series. He also currently fields late model, super late model, Grand-Am, and Formula 3 teams out of Florida.
Lira is an interesting success story from the start. After earning his University degree, he went to work in the auto dealership business by day and his own auto detailing business by night.
“My wife Amanda and I had a detailing business at night, and I was a car salesman during the day,” Lira said. “I started out as a salesman…worked myself into management and then into an ownership position. I have been buying and selling dealerships ever since. I take the businesses from no success to success.”
Lira is also in the realty business with several rental properties while he buys and sells residential houses and commercial properties.
Jack Roush, who owns the team that Ryan Reed drives for in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, was in Victory Lane right after the race, and then followed Reed into the media center following the SCOTT 150. He offered kind words about Lira Motorsports and the ARCA Racing Series.
“Carlos should be congratulated…for this is his first full year in ARCA and this is his first win,” Roush said. “This was all on Carlos’ back that Ryan was able to do what he was able to do tonight.
“It doesn’t go without notice that Carlos is building this team for his family. The car that Ryan drove tonight is the car Carlos has built for his son Michael.”
Reed, following his Victory Lane TV interview, referenced both Roush and Lira.
“A big thanks to Jack for sticking by me,” Reed said. “I wrecked a lot of stuff last year. I am fortunate and blessed to be part of the Roush family and also to have Carlos let me drive his car. This is a really special moment. It’s a lot of fun and it’s been a great year so far.”
Reed, after putting up the fastest speed in practice, made contact with the wall in qualifying. The Lira Motorsports team immediately went to work on the damaged Ford Fusion, and made the repairs in time for Reed to start at the tail-end of the field. Reed wasted no time racing his way toward the front. By lap 20 of the 100-lap race, he was in second position. By lap 31, he took the lead and never looked back, earning the Valvoline Lap Leader award along the way.
The SCOTT 150 will re-air on Fox Sports 1 at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 27.
Teddy Brown was Reed’s winning crew chief.
Enfinger pads point lead with runner-up run at Chicagoland
Grant Enfinger’s second place finish at Chicagoland puts the Fairhope, Alabama driver on the ARCA charts with recent runner-up runs at Pocono and now Chicagoland. He also padded his point lead at the halfway mark of the season with an unofficial 85 point-margin over second place driver Josh Williams. Williams, in his Cunningham Motorsports debut in the 22 car, finished seventh, good enough to move back into second in the national championship picture, 10 points in front of Hessert. Hessert, who still finished 10th, got caught on pit road under green flag conditions when, soon after, a caution came out allowing the rest of the leaders to take advantage of pitting on the yellow.
Sarah smiles at Chicagoland
SCOTT Rookie contender Sarah Cornett-Ching continues to impress in her first season, finishing eighth in the race, tying her career-best 8th place run at Talladega back in early May. Cornett-Ching, as a result, unofficially moves into sixth in championship standings, breaking the tie she had with Bo LeMastus. Cornett-Ching’s spotter for the SCOTT 150 was Josh Williams…the other Josh Williams…the one that spots full-time for Ryan Blaney on the NASCAR side.
Elder statesman Berte looks sharp at Chicagoland
71-year-old Tom Berte survived a spin in the race to tie his career-best finish of 13th, giving the New Berlin, Wisconsin driver back-to-back 13th place finishes at Chicagoland. Berte also finished 13th at Pocono Raceway in 2007. Berte is currently the second oldest active ARCA driver competing, six years younger than Wayne Peterson, who finished 27th in Saturday’s SCOTT 150.
Self frustrated but upbeat
Austin Wayne Self, in the Mason Mitchell Motorsports AM Technical Solutions Ford, was in second position with 20 laps remaining and keeping pace with Reed before contact with Matt Tifft resulted in a cut left-rear tire and an unscheduled pit stop, relegating the Austin, Texas driver to 12th in the final running order.
“This was a difficult end to a great weekend,” Self said. “We weren’t that good in practice and we changed everything on the car Saturday morning before qualifying and the car responded. We fought all day and positioned ourselves for a solid finish. I don’t know if we could have caught the 58 but it was going to be a solid top-three. I hate it for everyone on this MMM crew because they work endlessly to provide me with great cars. I know we will be fast at Winchester next weekend; it’s one of my favorite tracks on the ARCA schedule.”
Kurzejewski continues top-10 streak
Matt Kurzejewski’s sixth place finish in the SCOTT 150 marked his fifth consecutive top-10 finish in ARCA competition. In five starts this year spread out over the entire season, Kurzejewski, with Brian Keselowski crew-chiefing, also finished seventh at Daytona, sixth at Talladega, fifth at Pocono and fifth at Michigan.
Will Kimmel’s busy double-header day
Will Kimmel looked good during the race, leading 26 laps en route to his solid third place finish in his father Bill Kimmel’s Accel Ford Fusion. Kimmel’s success Saturday altered his original plans to immediately exit his No. 69 Ford and head straight for Illiana Motor Speedway in Schererville, Illinois so he could compete in the Great American Racing Series (GARS) street stock tour Saturday night. After winning the GARS season-opener at Salem Speedway, Kimmel was the point leader and had hoped to maintain the top spot; however, his podium finish Saturday at Chicagoland required him to stick around for post-race interviews with FOX Sports 2, which ultimately delayed his journey to Illiana, a 44-mile distance in between tracks.
“We made it to Illiana about 10 laps in, switched drivers and made about 30 laps before the gear let go,” Kimmel said. “I think the car was going to be good…just didn’t get the chance to show it.” Fortunately, Kimmel got the chance to show how good his ARCA car was at Chicagoland beforehand.
How bout a spot?
Will’s uncle Frank was right in the thick of it all the way through the race, and had a shot to win late in the going, sharing the front row with race winner Reed for the final restart under 20 laps to go. However, Kimmel’s Greenwork’s-Menards Toyota didn’t come up to speed as well some, and fell back a few spots. Kimmel still finished fifth, his second consecutive top-five finish. Kimmel had some experienced eyes in the sky for the race with NASCAR veteran Chris Lambert spotting. Lambert spots for Denny Hamlin in the Sprint Cup Series.
Speaking of spotters, ARCA Racing Series winner/veteran Jason Jarrett spotted for Bobby Gerhart, who finished 11th. Gerhart, in his signature black No. 5 Lucas Oil-MAVTV Chevrolet, survived several unscheduled pit stops for his hard-fought finish.
Matt Tifft’s fourth-place finish in Ken Schrader’s No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet came under the direction of veteran NASCAR/ARCA spotter David Pepper. Pepper also spots for Ken Schrader on the ARCA tour when Schrader fills the seat in the 52 car. Pepper, who works full-time at ThorSport Racing, spotted for Frank Kimmel all year en route to Kimmel’s championship season in 2013. Pepper also spots for NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton.
Josh Williams also had some experienced help from the spotter’s stand. TJ Majors, who spots full-time for Dale Earnhardt, Jr., spotted for Williams Saturday at Chicagoland.
Chris Monez, who spots for Sam Hornish on the NASCAR side, spotted for David Levine in Saturday’s SCOTT 150. Levine also got caught on pit road under green and still salvaged a ninth place finish. Levine continues to lead the SCOTT Rookie Challenge points halfway through the season.
Herr’s Chase The Taste 200 next at Winchester Speedway
The Herr’s Chase the Taste 200 at Winchester Speedway is live on CBS Sports Network at 2:00 p.m. ET., Sunday, June 28. ARCAracing.com will also feature live timing and scoring of all ARCA on-track activities Saturday and Sunday.
Indiana native and 10-time series champion Frank Kimmel is the leading ARCA winner at Winchester with six victories (1996, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2013) followed by three-time series champ Tim Steele, who won four times (1993, 1995, 1997, 2001). 1988 series champion Tracy Leslie won twice at Winchester in 1988 and 1999. Leslie’s son Billy Leslie, with his father spotting, won from the pole in 2007. Cunningham Motorsports went back-to-back as victors with Dakoda Armstrong in 2011 and Alex Bowman in 2012.
Other ARCA winners at Winchester include Jack Bowsher (1964), Ralph Latham (1972), Bobby Watson (1972) and two-time series champion Marvin Smith, who won back-to-back races in 1982 and 1983. Other winners include Bob Keselowski (1990), Gary Bradberry (1994) and Bob Strait (1998).
Discounted Tix for Winchester at area Menards
Discounted tickets for the June 28 Herr's Chase the Taste 200 at Winchester Speedway remain available at nine Menards stores near the track.
In addition to roles as the presenting sponsor of the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards and as a co-primary sponsor on Brandon Jones’s No. 25 Ansell/Menards Toyota, Menards is participating heavily in promotion of the race. As the ARCA Racing Series continues through its 63rd season, race fans in Indiana and Ohio have the chance to "Save Big Money" on tickets to see the action live.
Until Saturday, June 27, fans can buy tickets for the June 28 Winchester race for $20 at stores in: Anderson, Ind.; Celina, Ohio; Muncie, Ind.; Richmond, Ind.; Sidney, Ohio; and Tipp City, Ohio. Three stores in Fort Wayne are also offering the discount.
Don Radebaugh, firstname.lastname@example.org