Lira Motorsports CTSC Daytona Post-Race Report
Photo: On pit road before the start of the race, from left to right: Michael Lira, Timmy Rivers, Ricardo Flores and Nick Galante
Lira Motorsports drivers Michael Lira, Timmy Rivers and Ricardo Flores made their CTSC debut in strong fashion at the season-opening BMW Performance 200 on Friday, collecting a top ten qualifying spot with one car and a top ten finish with the other.
In cars prepared by the Racers Edge Motorsports shop, Lira and Rivers brought home a 13th place finish, while Flores, along with his Racers Edge co-driver Nick Galante, finished three spots ahead in 10th. Both cars finished the race on the lead lap.
Constant improvement was the theme for Ricardo and Nick, moving up the speed charts in each of the first three practice sessions. “We didn’t get in too many laps in the first practice,” commented Ricardo. “But we made up for it in the second and third sessions, logging the most laps of any car in the second and tying for the most laps in the third, getting faster each session.”
“The Racers Edge team kept working on it until both Nick and I were comfortable with the handling. We picked up over a second from the first practice to the third, then I backed it up by qualifying right on our third practice time.”
Before the race, Ricardo discussed his strategy for the start of the race: “At the green flag, if I see a gap I’ll go for it, but my plan is really to lay back. Turn one is going to be crazy. I want to turn the car over to Nick in good shape.”
Photo at right: The Gary Yeomans Ford Lincoln / Legistics Ford of Ricardo and Nick during the race.
Although their car went down a cylinder at one point in the race, the team was able to get full power back with an adjustment of the wires under the hood on a pit stop. The team continued constantly improving all race long, with Nick logging their fastest lap of the day on lap 54 of the 68 lap distance.
“Overall, I’m really excited about our Ford Mustang Boss 302R. It has the potential to run up front, and we’ll build on today’s top ten performance at our next race.”
For Lira and Rivers, practice speeds were fast right off the hauler.
“I knew our Ford Mustang Boss 302R was going to be a fast hot rod. Finishing off the first practice session among the top ten fastest is an awesome start to the event,” commented Michael Lira at the end of the session one.
The Racers Edge crew continued to adjust on the car throughout the practice sessions, and like their teammates, they were near the top of the charts for the number of laps run in all three practice sessions.
In qualifying, Timmy was able to get even a little more out of the Mustang’s engine, trimming more than a half of a second off their fastest practice speed, putting the car at p8 on the starting grid.
Confident just before the start of the race, Timmy commented “I’m definitely going to try and pick up a few spots at the start, then we’ll see what happens from there.”
Michael’s thoughts before the race were more on the safe side: “When I am out there I want to run clean, consistent laps. My goal is to turn the car back over to Timmy without a scratch, so he has a good shot at making a run at the finish.”
Photo: The Gary Yeomans Ford Lincoln Mustang crosses the finish line at Daytona.
Unfortunately for Lira and Rivers, their race did not run as smoothly as planned. Opting to do a driver change from Timmy to Michael at the first pit stop on lap 11, Michael was in the back of the pack on the restart. He raced his way into the top five before misfortune struck in the form of an engine issue similar to their teammates car. For Lira and Rivers, however, the issue was not able to be fixed.
Timmy, back in the car for the finish of the race, was able to keep the car on the lead lap and drive to a 13th place finish.
“These Mustang’s definitely have the potential to run up front,” Michael said after the race. “Considering how far back we were after the first pit stop and how it handled driving to the front of the pack, I’m very happy with the power and handling. I know the team is going to work the bugs out, and we’ll be back with an ever better performance.”