Eighteen-year old ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards rookie driver Blake Jones raced to an 8th place finish in the Federated Auto Parts 200 at Berlin Raceway over the weekend. It was his first start at the Marne, Michigan .4375 mile track.
The finish in Saturday night’s race was Blake’s second top ten in as many starts for Lira Motorsports. He finished 7th for the team at Iowa Speedway in July.
Blake was in the top ten in both practice sessions earlier in the day on Saturday. He recorded the 10th fastest time in the first session, then picked up almost 2/10ths of a second to end final practice at 7th quickest. He qualified his Momo / Ford Performance / TraqGear Ford Fusion in the 11th position.
The team had Blake bring his car to pit road for a final adjustment during pace laps, relegating him to the tail end of the 27 car field for the drop of the green flag. He raced into the top 15 by lap 35, but had gone a lap down to the leaders by lap 54 when the second of four caution periods of the race came out. Blake was in position to receive the free pass, and he continued his drive towards the top ten on the lead lap when racing resumed.
After a final pit stop under the third caution on lap 145, Blake was able to race into the top ten before the final caution on lap 190 of the 200 lap race. Restarting in 9th with only one lap to go, Blake picked up one final position on the last lap, taking the 8th spot at the checkered flag.
“I’m proud of my Lira Motorsports crew,” Blake commented after the race. “They worked really hard all day to help me get a handle on this track. We had brake issues, and fought to get that 8th place finish. Picking up 19 sports from where I started at the back of the field is incredible. Today was something to build on for my next race with the team!”
For more information about Blake Jones, visit his website at www.blakejonesracing.com, or follow him on Facebook at /blakejonesracing and Twitter @CBlakeJones_.
For additional information about Lira Motorsports, visit www.LiraMotorsports.com.