Lira Motorsports ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards debut race did not go as planned, with a oil line issue spoiling the race for the otherwise strong and fast No. 58 hot rod driven by rookie driver John Lowinski-Loh. The team, however, did not give up and ultimately finished the Lucas Oil 200 presented by Menards at Daytona International Speedway running in the 33rd position.
The ARCA season-opener event started with John running more laps in the first practice session that any other driver. In the two-hour session, he logged a total of 46 laps. Working the car at the front, middle and back of multiple drafting groups, John recorded lap times on the top half of the speed charts in a group of 28 cars all running within a half-second of each other.
After the session he commented, “The handling was great, but it’s not pulling as much as we want it to. We’re going to make a change for tomorrow. We’ll get it.”
In final practice on Friday, the car was again handling well and picked up some speed. The change helped them run fast enough to make it into the third of ARCA’s seven qualifying groups, placing them in the same group as Lira Motorsports teammate David Levine. Without any owner points from last year to guarantee the car a starting position in the race, it was up to John to make it into the starting field on qualifying time. John drove the car to a strong third fastest time of the seven cars in their group, which eventually translated into 22nd starting spot for the race. The team had successfully qualified in their debut attempt at ARCA Series Racing!
Unfortunately, the car had an alternator issue at the end of qualifying which required replacing before the race. With mandatory car impound rules in effect after qualifying, the change meant that the No. 58 car would start at the back of the pack for the race.
At the drop of the green flag, John went to work, picking off several spots by lap ten of the 80 lap race. Shortly after lap 10 the car then began smoking, forcing John to take the car to the garage area. After a diagnosis of a oil line issue, it became apparent that John and the team’s quick decision to get the car off the track and shut down as quickly as possible saved the engine from terminal damage.
With repairs made, John rejoined the field on lap 23, twelve laps down from the leader. He ran strong and incident free for the rest of the race, not losing any additional laps and running consistent and solid lap times. However, with only a handful of cars dropping out of the race, John was only able to work his way back up to 33rd position when the checkered flag fell.
“I’m very proud of my guys for never giving up. We raced our way into the starting field at Daytona, which is a success in itself! The extra points we earned by making it back out on the track are important. Thank you to my amazing team at Lira Motorsports, and also huge thanks to my family, friends and fans for all the support!!!!
Find out more about John Lowinski-Loh online at johnlowinski-loh.com and on facebook at /lowinskilohracing. You can also follow him on Twitter at @jlowinskiloh. For more information on Lira Motorsports visit liramotorsports.com