The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) will take the checkered flag in their 2013 season Friday night at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway. For Mason Mingus and his Win-Tron Racing team, they aim towards the finish line looking to execute a strong finish that can carry them into the off-season and prepare for next year.
Mingus, 18, has successfully qualified in both of his NCWTS attempts this year at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in October and most recently at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway (PIR) last weekend, earning a commendable 22nd place finish.
The effort though, was a step in the right direction for the Mooresville, North Carolina-based team, led by 2009 ARCA champion crew chief Mark Rette. This week, however, the team shifts gears and concentration a bit and focuses from a one-mile oval to their mile-and-a-half debut in The Sunshine State.
“I’m excited for Homestead this weekend,” said Mingus, who finished second in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship standings in his rookie season. “We took this truck to Nashville (Speedway) and were running really good lap times. I think we’ll have a good piece for the race on Friday night. Hopefully, we’ll have the finish to show just how good of a No. 35 Call 811 Before You Dig / Mark-It! Madness Chevrolet Silverado we brought to the track.”
While the traditional cookie-cutter, 1.5-mile tracks were something new for the Brentwood, Tennessee native on the ARCA tour, Mingus propelled himself to three consecutive top-10 finishes in three starts with a best finish of sixth at Chicagoland Speedway. Furthermore, Mingus started all three of the intermediate tracks from inside the top-10 as well.
Even with that track record, the Win-Tron Racing development driver knows that the competition level has been raised immensely. Mingus, though, still feels that his (limited) experience on those tracks will pay some sort of dividends Friday night. At least, he hopes.
“The learning curve was big for me,” offered Mingus in referencing to his climb from a short track to a bigger track. “I learned a lot in those three races and without a doubt, I think some of that will convert over to the truck as well. Thankfully, I have a good team behind me who isn’t afraid to push me. That only helps me learn more, not to mention contribute to those top-10 finishes in ARCA.”
When asked what he learned during the eight-hour test at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway, Mingus wasn’t shy to hold back a response.
“How long do you want me to go on?” he said with a chuckle. “We really focused on making changes with the truck. We felt that it was important for me to feel the changes they made in the truck. Quickly, I was able to notice them and with those adjustments, my comfort level and track times improved. I think that will be key for Friday night. I think the track will change a lot from start to finish, so we can’t afford to be chasing the handling a whole lot, we need to instead be focused on the actual race itself.
“Don’t expect us to do anything crazy, I don’t think we’ll have any problems qualifying for the race, but once that green flag flies, we’re looking for consistency and log laps, so we can end our season together on a high note.”
And a realistic, yet obtainable goal for Friday night? Simple in the teenager’s eyes.
“We finished and scored a top-25 finish at Phoenix. This weekend, we’re aiming for a top-20 (finish). Honestly, I think our No. 35 Call 811 Before You Dig / Mark-It! Madness Chevrolet Silverado can contend for more than that, but we’re fixated on seeing that checkered flag.”
Nate Thiesse, co-truck owner of Win-Tron Racing is pleased with the direction of Mingus’s progress and feels that Homestead will be an opportunity for the team to shine in the spotlight.
“Mason’s done a really good job for us this season in both ARCA and NASCAR,” he said. “It’s not an easy thing, especially in your rookie season to buckle-up and battle with some of NASCAR’s best. Mason has adapted to the change well and with the experience he inhaled at Phoenix last Friday night – I know he’s determined to better that run at Homestead. Knowing Mason, he’ll do just that.”
For Friday night’s Ford EcoBoost 200, Win-Tron Racing has elected to utilize chassis No. 16. While the Chevrolet Silverado is a new fixture for them, the bowtie was purchased from Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM), another NCWTS organization. It is the same piece that the team tested with at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway a few weeks ago.
Wintron Racing PR