As if Mason Mitchell didn’t have enough to do, the defending ARCA Racing Series champion has decided to expand his team into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series next season while also looking to return to the seat on a full-time basis.
At 21-years-old, Mitchell owns his own ARCA operation and currently fields a team for championship contender Austin Wayne Self. He hasn’t raced as much as he would have liked to when the season started, but has instead worked on the business side while also looking for the funding needed to take the next step of his career.
While those resources haven’t materialized for himself, the connections he’s made while on the sidelines has provided him the opportunity to expand into K&N next season — potentially running in the series himself.
Mitchell said the decision to enter his team into NASCAR stemmed from a one-off start he made at Bowman Gray Stadium in May.
“I got a chance to meet the teams, meet the officials, staff and people in that series and I have good friends over there like Kyle Benjamin,” Mitchell said on Popular Speed’s Teardown Radio on Monday night. “It was about getting feedback from everyone that has been there for a while and it’s great platform with NASCAR Next.
“There are a lot of competitive cars in that series and I enjoyed myself when I made that start at The Stadium.”
Mitchell also saw an opportunity to cross-promote between the two tours in a way that no other team currently does.
“That’s not to take anything away from ARCA,” Mitchell said. “I love that series too and there are many similarities in what I enjoy about both divisions. They both provide the pros and they are different. I just didn’t want to put a ceiling on our organization and just be one series and one series only.
“I feel like each program will help other. You can take a guy that can run a full K&N season when he’s younger and stay with us when he wants get experience to run some bigger tracks in ARCA we can rock and roll and do that too.”
Despite the recent success on the business side, Mitchell admits that he has missed driving. He doesn’t mean that as a slight to Self or his full-time team but he just expected to be in a full-time NASCAR ride after winning the ARCA championship.
“It’s just that I worked so hard to get to that point, winning a championship and having so many good runs and boom, the next day, you don’t know what’s happening,” Mitchell said. “But I’m still young and have a lot of opportunities ahead of me.
“I’m going to work hard every day … I want to be out there so bad fighting for the championship but I see this as paying my dues and making the most out of every opportunity that comes my way.”
Ultimately, Mitchell expects to be back behind the wheel a lot more next season. He isn’t sure if he is going to run for a championship in any particular division but he should make more than the six starts that he has made in 2015.
“I think I’m going to be back next year,” Mitchell said. “Expanding teams is going to help that a lot especially on the K&N side. I feel like I can get behind the wheel there a little bit and then on ARCA side too.
“It’s about putting the pieces together. I’ve had some opportunities come up but I want to make sure I’m in the right position. I feel like the opportunities I had with (Shige Hattori) and Venturini (Motorsports) were ones that I could run up front with. There are so many times where you take a chance on a bad situation and it could derail your career pretty bad so I’m just trying to be careful with my approach.”
Mason Mitchell Motorsports is now entertaining race packages for drivers to race in the 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East & West.
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