Racers often go to Daytona to accomplish a lifelong dream of simply making laps on the famous high banks. A year ago, Quin Houff was that racer, but this year his perspective has changed.
It no longer is enough for Quin to make competitive laps; he wants to win.
In last year’s Lucas Oil 200 Driven By General Tire, Quin worked his way forward through the race and led over a quarter of the event (23 laps) before pitting for fuel during the team’s only planned pit stop of the race. Soon after he rejoined the fight for the win, an accident ahead of him swept Quin and the No. 98 Chevrolet into the melee, ending his chance for victory.
Making his first career start in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, Quin experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. That same emotional roller coaster has driven his focus for this year’s event, and climbing into the car during January’s test fanned the competitive flames of the Virginia driver.
“Last year’s event made me want to return to Daytona even more,” Houff admitted prior to the race at Daytona. “Getting a taste of the lead last year made the itch even worse to get back and have the opportunity to close the deal. I’ve had that itch for a while, especially since the test. I think we have a very fast Mason Mitchell Motorsports Chevrolet. Mark (Setzer) and the team worked extremely hard with my teammates and I at the test, so we learned tons about the cars. Because of that, I know going back for the race we will be even better.
“My mindset may not seem much different than 2017, but this year I believe we can close the deal because I have more experience behind me from races last year,” he continued. “It's still a blessing to have another chance to run the high banks of Daytona, but I really think we can capitalize this year after having such a strong showing last time.”
The Mason Mitchell Motorsports team is bringing one of their biggest bullets for the proverbial gunfight at Daytona. Chassis No. 100 is the same machine which led the team to a restrictor plate win at Talladega in 2016 and logged the second-fastest lap in winter testing at Daytona, only 18-thousandths of a second from the top.
“We’re really pumped about Daytona this year and what could happen for our team,” said Mason Mitchell, owner of the No. 98 Chevrolet. “I see a drive in Quin to finish what he started last February, and it has been our mission over the off-season to prepare cars to assist him, and all of our drivers, in achieving that goal not only at Daytona, but also at the other events throughout the year. If everything goes according to plan, I believe we’re in a position to have that opportunity this weekend.”
Quin’s second attempt at Daytona will once again come in a Chevrolet adorned with his family’s charity campaign to benefit the Duke Cancer Institute. As a gesture of appreciation for their treatment of his mother, Quin runs the BeatinCancerWithDuke.org site on all of his cars, a campaign which his family started and one to which he donates up to half of his race winnings.
“There’s still a correlation to my minor battles on track to those who fight life or death battles with cancer on a daily basis around the country,” Quin said. “It was special to run the car with BeatinCancerWithDuke.org and the cancer ribbons last year and will be equally as special this year to represent not only those in my family, but all the others who fought or who are fighting cancer everywhere.”
For more information on Quin Houff, visit his website at www.quinhouff.com. He’s also on Facebook (/QuinHouffMotorsports), Twitter (@P1_Houff) and Instagram (@P1_Houff).