Since 1993, no driver has won an ARCA Series championship driving for their own team. That is about to change.
Mason Mitchell, 20, needs to finish 35th or better in Friday evening’s ARCA 98.9 200 at Kansas Speedway to clinch the title. With just 34 cars entered for the event, he has automatically clinched the title over Grant Enfinger, who trails Mitchell by 200 points entering the final race of the season. And in becoming the champion – he is the first driver/owner since Tim Steele did so in 1993 to debut a team and win the title in the same year.
“We want to make sure that when we start the race that we have it wrapped up,” said Mitchell on “The Speedy Digest” Wednesday evening. “Hopefully, we qualify well. If we can qualify where we have been qualifying, then we can get some qualifying points and we don’t have to worry about the point’s situation at all.”
After racing for the Roulo Brothers and Empire Racing in 2013, he made the choice of starting his own organization. Mason Mitchell Motorsports opened its doors prior to Daytona and has not looked back ever since. With hard work and determination, Mitchell has turned a start-up organization into a championship winning one.
With two mechanical issues that hindered his results at O’Reilly Raceway Park and Madison International Speedway, he has finished inside of the top-10 every event except for those. His No. 98 Ford has been a model for consistency, and leading at least two laps in all but four races has helped extend his gap over Enfinger.
“It would mean a lot just because I know how hard I have worked for it, my family has worked for it, my friends for supporting and most importantly – the whole Mason Mitchell [Motorsports] team,” said Mitchell, who chose to run the No. 98 because because Benny Parsons won two ARCA Series championships driving the number.
“It really is about the people that you support yourself with. The people that work their will work day and night to get to a race and you have to do everything you can to make it possible. It can be an uphill battle at times, but you just have to have faith in yourself and believe and know that you can keep it going. I knew it was going to be really hard [to win the title], but this isn’t like a surprise to me at all because it is what I wanted to do and what we set our goal to be.”
For this weekend’s race, Mitchell’s Ford will sport a bright pink paint scheme for breast cancer awareness. Plenty of his family and friends will be making the three-hour drive from his hometown of West Des Moines, Iowa for the championship celebration at Kansas.
Although his plans are not confirmed for 2015, Mitchell has hopes of moving up the ranks to either the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series or Nationwide Series.
“There is nothing on the works for that. Mason Mitchell Motorsports is still going to be an ARCA team and we are still working on things for that. We have a heck of a team here and all of the guys dig really hard. We did some crazy stuff at the beginning of the year to get started with everybody.”
Inaugural Get Schooled with Mason Mitchell Set for September 10, 2014
Mason Mitchell Motorsports and Mason Mitchell are pleased to announce a new partnership with the Dirt Track Racing School. Based in Stanley, NC, the Dirt Track Racing School offers fans and motorsports enthusiasts the opportunity to get behind the wheel of their favorite dirt race vehicle.
The Dirt Track Racing School will be an associate sponsor on the No. 98 Mason Mitchell Motorsports Ford Fusion for both of the 2014 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards dirt track events. These races include Illinois State Fairgrounds (August 17) and DuQuoin State Fairgrounds (September 1). In addition, fans have the chance to spend a day with Mason at the Dirt Track Racing School on September 10during the Inaugural Get Schooled with Mason Mitchell event.
Fans that purchase the Get Schooled with Mason Mitchell experience will receive 25 laps behind the wheel of either a sprint car, late model, or modified of their choice! Only a limited amount of spots available for this one of a kind experience. Furthermore, fans will be able to take pictures with Mason, enjoy a Southern BBQ, and receive an event exclusive shirt and hat. Those interested in learning more or purchasing a package can visit http://bit.ly/GetSchooledwithMasonMitchell.
“This is a great opportunity for my team and I. Being able to put on an event with people across the nation and meet with fans is awesome,” Mason Mitchell, driver of the No. 98 Mason Mitchell Motorsports Ford Fusion said. “Racing dirt is a lot different than asphalt, they're two totally different animals, but as a driver you have to adapt and overcome those differences. I would love to get in the sprint car, but I really want to drive the late model since I raced late models on pavement." Mason Mitchell will get behind the wheel to drive a late model on dirt during the event, another great reason for fans to purchase!
“The Dirt Track Racing School is happy and excited to be teaming up with Mason Mitchell Motorsports. Mason's success with ARCA has been very exciting to watch, especially with his break through win in Chicago,” Keith and Donna Frye, Owners and Operators of the Dirt Track Racing School said. “We are really looking forward to the Inaugural "Get Schooled with Mason Mitchell" event at East Lincoln Speedway on September 10 and hope we get to meet several of Mason’s biggest fans!”
About Dirt Track Racing School: The Dirt Track Racing School concept offers both racers and racing fans alike the chance to drive on dirt in three different types of racecars. The Dirt Track Racing School operates year-round at East Lincoln Speedway in Stanley, NC. For more information please visit www.DriveonDirt.com, and “like” them on Facebook, www.facebook.com/DirtTrackRacingSchool.
About Mason Mitchell Motorsports (MMM): Mason Mitchell Motorsports made their ARCA Racing Series debut in the 2012 season. Currently fielding one full time ARCA Racing Series Ford Fusion driven by Mason Mitchell, MMM also provides racecar driver development programs for auto racing drivers. Follow Mason Mitchell Motorsports’ social media pages, Twitter - @MMM_Race and Facebook www.facebook.com/pages/Mason-Mitchell-Motorsports. Also, follow Mason on his personal Twitter account, @TheMasonRacin.
After a dominating performance on Saturday afternoon at Pocono, Kyle Larson showed once again that he has a boatload of talent. However, Larson also utilized his NASCAR Nationwide Series crew from Turner Scott Motorsports.
Larson’s crew, led by Scott Zipadelli, proved to be the difference maker in Saturday’s ARCA 200 at Pocono. The No. 4 car had a lead over Matt Tift at one point the event which surpassed 20 seconds – that’s nearly half of the entire Pocono Raceway.
After making a green flag pit stop, Larson received a pit road speeding violation – forcing his Chevrolet to have a pass-through penalty. Due to his large lead, Larson still held a five second lead over Tift. A large part of holding a 20 second lead was because of his Nationwide Series pit crew, who noticeably had about a five-10 second quicker pit stop compared to the rest of the top-10.
But with a car that was clearly going to be dominating this weekend with his Nationwide Series team, should he have raced on Saturday? Wouldn’t have participating in the ARCA Series test at Pocono been enough for the 21-year-old?
Well, on Friday Larson told Speedway Digest that he did not believe it was going to hurt him by racing the ARCA Series race. However, at the time, he believed it wasn’t helping him an exceptional amount considering the differences between the ARCA Series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Not only does the ARCA Series use a different tire combination as they throw on Hoosier tires to their cars, but they also have less horse power than the Cup Series. In the Cup Series, drivers have been shifting at least two-four times per lap at Pocono. Moreover, the ARCA Series does not shift at all at Pocono besides on the restart. Larson even joked about how Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates was making his practice shifting by driving around town in a manual vehicle – a Chevrolet Camaro to be specific.
The only driver who was able to contend with Larson for the victory was Mason Mitchell. Mitchell led several laps after the final restart, but as the field was coming to two laps remaining in the 200-mile spectacle, Larson flew by Mitchell, who owns his own team – Mason Mitchell Motorsports. He ended up beating Mitchell by approximately one second.
Justin Boston and Matt Tift had strong cars that might have been able to contend with Larson, but they’re days came to an end early as both of them got into a wreck with 15 laps remaining in the event. Justin Allison also had a strong car, yet his No. 88 Ford was stuck in fourth gear and caused him to fall back mightily on the restart.
Larson might have dominated the race, but he stated that he learned a few things which could help him on Sunday for the Pocono 400. He had to maneuver through traffic for the majority of the day, and also had an intense battle with Mitchell. Another thing which Larson could have learned this weekend was the line which he takes going to pass drivers in the corners. But that is about all he could learn with such drastic differences in the two divisions.
The California native was 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice held early Saturday afternoon after running 25 laps – the third highest amount behind Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski. He was also inside of the top-10 in the second practice of the weekend, and was fourth of nine cars to run 10 consecutive laps.
Larson will start his first Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono in the 14th position.
Kyle Larson has won his first career ARCA Series event. Larson, 21, led the majority of the Pocono 200 at the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA. However, even after dominating the race, Larson was passed by Mason Mitchell on the final restart with less than 15 laps to go.
Mitchell held the lead over Larson until Larson got around him with less than three laps to go. Once he passed Mitchell, Larson checked out and defeated the no. 98 Ford by more than a second. This is the fifth time Mitchell has come up just short of a victory, and the second time he has done so this season after finishing in the runner-up position at Toledo.
The only major incident in the race occurred when Matt Tift got into Justin Boston as the two were battling for position inside of the top-five. Tift got loose in Turn 1, sending both cars hard into the outside wall. The No. 52 car owned by Ken Schrader was able to continue in the race, but finished 19th – five laps down.
Austin Wayne Self had two speeding violation after contending for the lead with Larson after the first round of pit stops. Then, Self had a mechanical failure just laps later, forcing the No. 22 Dodge to go to the garage. The team Tweeted out that Self believed he damaged the radiator while going to pit road, but the damage was permanent.
Larson has a 21 second lead over Tift, but also had a speeding penalty on pit road. The No. 4 car came back down pit road, but due to his large lead, he came back out and still had a five second advantage over Tift.
John Wes Townley finished third after earning a fifth-place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Texas on Friday evening. Since Townley was in Texas on Friday, Brennan Poole practiced and qualified Townley’s car – forcing Townley to start at the rear of the field on Saturday. Townley was mired outside of the top-20 early in the race after receiving damage to the front-end of his No. 15 Toyota. He went a lap down, but due to several late race cautions, Townley worked his way back on the lead lap and took advantage of the final caution by racing his way into the top-five.
Unofficially, Grant Enfinger leaves Pocono with a 20 point lead over Mitchell in the ARCA Series points standings.
Here are some notables from the ARCA 200:
-Karl Weber tied his best career finish with a 10th place run.
-Josh Williams earned a sixth-place finish in the No. 6 car. Williams earned his second top-10 of the year after not racing in the first two events of 2014.
-Kyle Martel ran in the 14th position in his first race of 2014.