(TOLEDO, Ohio – June 16, 2014) – It’s a brand new operation yet Mason Mitchell Motorsports is one of the hottest properties in ARCA town. The team’s driver and owner, Mason Mitchell, is also becoming quite the commodity.
Mitchell, 19, currently operates on the strength of 17 consecutive top-10 finishes. But it’s more than that. The West Des Moines, Iowa driver, headed into this Saturday’s Akona 250 presented by Federated Car Care at Elko Speedway, has finished second in five of the last 10 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards events.
He’s also the new championship point leader following yet another runner-up run at Michigan Int’l SpeedwayFriday. So you’d think he’d be ecstatic, right? Wrong.
“To be honest, it’s getting very frustrating,” Mitchell said. “Coming off another dominating performance and we finish second again (Michigan). I look at it as five (races) we didn’t win.
“I remember the first time I finished second at Kentucky last year…battling for the lead…it was really cool. Now it’s getting aggravating. But as close as we are, it’ll come. There’ll be a time and place for that. There has to be; I’m running out of reasons why I haven’t won.”
Mitchell’s amazing results reach back to Kentucky Speedway at the back end of 2013 where he scored his first runner-up finish. Mitchell turned right around and finished second in the season finale at Kansas. In just eight races so far in 2014, he’s added three more runnerups – at Toledo where he also earned the Menards Pole by Ansell, Pocono, and now Michigan.
So what’s it going to take to get that first win?
“I’m going to Elko with a new mindset. I’m going in with a better attitude, and just let things happen. We’ll take what we got.”
As effective as Mitchell’s big-track, intermediate program has been, he says his short-track program is even better.
“I’ve always thought our short-track program was our strength, and I still do. I’m going to Elko with my favorite car – the one we sat on the pole with at Toledo and led a ton of laps.
“Elko’s a really nice track; I like it a lot. I raced late models there before the ARCA cars, so we’re going in with high hopes.
“But I have to admit – all these second place finishes off of dominating performances stings a little bit.”
Mitchell took a big gamble and formed his own team at the tail-end of 2013. He answered with immediate and brand new one-lap track qualifying records on the Springfield (Ill.) dirt mile and the Berlin Raceway short track, and finished the year with two runner-up finishes.
“It probably was a little risky, forming our own team right during race season last year, but it’s paying off now. We’ve had to build all of our cars from the ground up, so it’s been a full-time effort on all fronts.
“I have really good people working for me. Matt (Weber/Mitchell’s Crew Chief) doesn’t have a lot of notoriety, but he’s really experienced and we’re good friends. He worked with Johnny Benson when Johnny won the (NASCAR Camping World) Truck championship. He went to engineering school; he’s really smart.”
“I don’t think we’re (his team) missing anything; I honestly think we’re getting better, and we’re still learning but we have really high expectations. I’m bummed out about MIS, but we’ll keep our heads up.”
Mitchell knows that first win can’t be too far away.
“It’s going to be a really cool moment…I’m sure it’s going to be really emotional for me, personally. Once the first one comes, I have a feeling that the rest will come easier. But, at this point, I can’t really say what it feels like at this level because I’ve never been there.”
Raceday at Elko starts with ARCA Racing Series practice from 1:30-2:15 p.m., with final practice following from 2:45-3:30. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell follows at 5:30 with the Akona 250 set to take the green flag at 8.
Legends Cars will accompany the ARCA Racing Series for this year’s event with a feature event race at 6.
The Akona 250 marks the first of three events to be televised live on the CBS Sports Network. The live broadcast is set for 8 p.m. Saturday. If race fans don’t want to miss action at their local short track, the Akona 250 will be re-broadcast at 7 p.m. Sunday on CBS Sports Network.
ARCAracing.com will also feature ARCA Racing Series live timing and scoring of all on-track activities.
Akona 250 Discount Tickets on Sale at 36 Menards Stores Across Minneapolis
Tickets are on sale now for the Akona 250 presented by Federated Car Care at Elko Speedway. Tickets are $20, compared to $30 on race day, and will be available at 36 Menards stores in the Minneapolis, Minn. market.