Competing at any national level in a professional sport is no easy task.
But the fundamentals of racing is the passion that drives Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Mason Mingus (@Mason_Mingus) and his Win-Tron Racing team, which included a stop this past week at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway for the running of the UNOH 200.
And while the team’s performance at the “World’s Fastest Half Mile” wasn’t what they were looking for, there’s no face value of the track time that will continue to help make the team’s ongoing learning curve in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) a positive one.
Mingus’s debut at the track dubbed “Thunder Valley” had its moments of trials and tribulations. While the team couldn’t deliver their second top-10 finish of the season, the 19-year old driver did take the checkered flag in his Bristol debut.
The No. 35 Call 811 Before You Dig Toyota Tundra driven, by the Brentwood, Tennessee native, struggled to gain ground on the track’s 0.533-mile concrete surface. While Mingus made some strides from practice to qualifying, he made even bigger ones during the course of the 200-lap slugfest, which resulted in a 22nd place finish after qualifying 29th.
“Bristol was definitely the track I was expecting,” Mingus said. “It is a very tough place, but one of my favorite tracks that we race at. We didn’t have the run we wanted, so we have a lot of work to do before we go back there next year.
“I fought a very tight truck from start to finish. It’s disappointing, because we felt like we may have been able to fly under the radar, survive and load up with a strong finish. It doesn’t come from a lack of effort though.”
Still, while Mingus battled handling woes throughout the race’s 200 laps, Mingus clutched to the knowledge that he learned about BMS, knowing he can apply it to next year’s race – and maybe even later on this season.
“You never walk away from a racetrack without learning something,” he added. “Sometimes you learn more than others, but Bristol is a beast in itself. It’s an awesome place with an electrifying presence, but the racing is hard to describe. It’s a one groove racetrack, so if you’re struggling even a little bit, it can make for a long race. For us, we took our finish in stride knowing it was our first time there and I think I’ll be able to come back next time and be better.
“It’s important to just take the finish in stride and move ahead to the road course race, which I’m stoked about getting to. It’s a perfect place for us to put ourselves back into the spotlight.”
Nate Thiesse, co-truck owner of Win-Tron Racing offered his thoughts post-Bristol.
“Mason finished his 11th straight race in a row,” he said. “That’s important, because it shows that he’s not only improving, but becoming more and more comfortable as a driver. We didn’t have the finish we wanted, but we learned a ton. Mason wants more and we want that too. As we enter this final stretch of races, it’s important that we continue to work harder than ever, so we can give Mason everything he needs, to put himself and No. 35 Call 811 Before You Dig Toyota Tundra in contention mode.”
Exiting Bristol, Mingus sits 12th in the championship standings, 74 markers from 10th place held by Jeb Burton. Mingus unofficially sits second in the Sunoco rookie of the year standings, behind current leader Ben Kennedy.
Win-Tron Racing PR