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.”