Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Mason Mingus (@Mason_Mingus) is used to challenges in his first season of competition in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
This weekend though, Mingus and his Win-Tron Racing team hope to conquer their newest challenge with flying colors, as the tour returns to New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) for the first time since 2011.
And since neither Mingus nor his Mooresville, North Carolina-based Win-Tron Racing team, who also competes full-time on the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule with 10-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel, has ever visited the 1.0-oval of NHMS in a truck, they refuse to let their inexperience hamper them in Saturday afternoon’s UNOH 175.
“I’m excited and ready for New Hampshire,” said Mingus. “It’s always fun when we get to go short track racing. I think we should have a strong No. 35 Call 811 Before You Dig Toyota Tundra and hopefully with a little luck we can turn this wad of top-20 finishes into another top-10 run Saturday.”
Mingus, the Brentwood, Tennessee native, will be the first to tell you that even though he has yet to turn a lap on the track’s surface, he once again has turned to the ever popular and realistic iRacing game to get acquainted with the track’s layout.
“iRacing will for sure help me this weekend,” Mingus added. “It really is a neat game, where you cannot only have fun, but also learn (a ton) too. It seems like a tight racetrack, but a place that will attract good racing. I think track position will be key, so we have to be on our game to make sure we’re doing everything in our power to stay near the front.
“It’s also a relatively short race, so we don’t have a lot of time to just lay back. I feel wherever we qualify, we have to go and keep going and hope our strategy plays out. The team had a good run in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race last season, so maybe there’s something we can take from that performance and apply it to our No. 35 Call 811 Before You Dig Toyota Tundra. ”
For the second consecutive week, Mingus will work alongside Dennis Connor, who’s taken the reins as crew chief of the No. 35 Call 811 Before You Dig Toyota Tundra. Last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, Mingus unloaded strong, but handling woes kept the Mooresville, North Carolina-team from contending for a top-10 finish.
Despite their 16th place finish, the team was satisfied with the progress they made.
“Dennis worked hard throughout the weekend to get our No. 35 Call 811 Before You Dig Toyota better. We started a little off in the race, but the truck finally came around, but it was a little too late to make an impact on our finish. Despite the minor setback, I think as a team we learned a lot and we can build on that for New Hampshire this weekend.”
Not only will Mingus rely on Connor for feedback, his own intuition from his iRacing races, but the former champion wrestler says he’s also been studying previous races, hoping it will provide any additional insight that would allow the 19-year old driver to have a magical performance at the track dubbed “The Magic Mile.”
“The odds are stacked against us a little bit, but this team has risen to the top of adversity throughout the season, and there’s no doubt we can do it again this weekend at New Hampshire,” Mingus sounded. “The more information I can inhale about the track, the better off I feel we will be. Watching previous races not only teaches me more about the track’s preferred groove, but also other driver’s maneuvers to have that extra edge over the rest. Like I said, I think it’s going to be a fun and exciting race for us.”
Nate Thiesse, co-truck owner of Win-Tron Racing, offered his thoughts entering this week’s race.
“New Hampshire is a unique track with a lot of history, but it’s a track that we feel like Mason can adapt to quickly and have a strong run,” he said. “Short tracks have been his strength over the last couple of years and we expect Mason to be patiently aggressive, as he (hopefully) wheels our No. 35 Call 811 Before You Dig Toyota Tundra to our second top-10 finish of the year on Saturday.”
Entering New Hampshire, Mingus sits 11th in the championship standings, 85 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.
WinTron Racing PR