Part-time ARCA driver, Michael Lira, who recorded a fourth-place qualifying effort at Pocono Raceway in his Superspeedway debut in the series in August, will shift gears and make his way to New Smyrna Speedway this weekend at an attempt to take the trophy during the 49th Annual Florida Governor’s Cup 200 Super Late Model (SLM) race.
The Governor’s Cup began back in 1965 at Golden Gate Speedway, where Wayne Reutimann would become the victor of the inaugural race as he fought next to Bobby Allison and won by inches. The race was held at Golden Gate (1965-1978, 1981-1983) and Sunshine Speedway (1979, 1983-1987). In 1988, the legendary race moved to the half-mile track at New Smyrna Speedway where it has been held for the last 26 years.
This year’s Cup is looking to be one of the best, boasting one of the most competitive lineups in its history. The entry list includes Late Model legends and previous Governor’s Cup victors, two-time winners Bubba Pollard, Jeff Choquette, and David Rogers, and three-time winner Wayne Anderson. Alongside Lira (17), three young guns are also searching for their first Cup win, including Harrison Burton (14) — all more than willing to fight against the legends for the Governor’s Cup title.
The theme of the race weekend is not only the young guns versus the legends, but also the Floridians versus the out-of-towners. It’s a rare feat for the Floridians to win during this event, and Lira, a Florida native, is trying to set a new precedent by finishing the weekend with the trophy in his hand.
Confidence is necessary in an event of this magnitude and that is one thing that Lira has. In 2014, Lira finished fifth in the Pro Late Model (PLM) standings at New Smyrna Speedway and had two wins.
“I feel great about my car,” Lira said. “It was really fast last time and we almost won but had to pull off due to a tire going down.”
If a mechanical failure does not occur, Lira believes that he has the car to beat.
To get the practice time that is necessary, Lira will be taking part in the PLM 50-lap event on Saturday night in addition to racing the 200-lap SLM event on Sunday.
“I really want to win the 50-lapper, because I’ve never won a 50-lapper and it would be great to be able to add that to my win list this season,” Lira said. “My Pro Late Model and Super Late Model have identical chassis, so anything we learn on the Pro can be applied to the Super during the main event on Sunday.”
You can keep updated on the Governor’s Cup and other weekend events from New Smyrna Speedway at Speed51.com (@Speed51dotcom) for practice and the race will be shown on Pay-Per-View on 51TV. You can also keep up by following New Smyrna Speedway on Twitter at @newsmyrnaspdway.
To hear more from Michael and his team, follow him on Twitter at @LiraRacing and @1MichaelLira or visit MichaelLiraRacing.com.
-Patricia Westfall Press Release. Photo Credit: Speed51.com.