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Mason Mitchell Confident About Chances in Kansas

Going into the ARCA Racing Series finale at Kansas Speedway, there is a field full of drivers who look to lay claim on the last race of the season. One of those is Mason Mitchell, who enters this weekend as the defending race winner.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “Last year, we had a good car and a good team and won the event, led a bunch of laps. It’s close to home, only three hours away, so lots of friends and family and sponsors that are supporting me are there. Looking forward to it. It’ll be my first time in a composite car at a mile and a half, but I don’t think that’ll be a challenge, so hope to end the season off on a high note.”

Throughout his career, Mitchell has always run well at Kansas Speedway, posting a top-seven finish in each of his four career starts. Last season, he led 39 laps en route to scoring the victory. Mitchell says he’s always enjoyed mile and a half tracks, and Kansas was one of the tracks he was quickly able to adapt to.

“With the progressive banking, I can move around a lot,” he said. “It’s not strictly one-groove related so you can branch around a little bit and allows yourself to not have the perfect car, but move around a lot and make other lines work.”

This weekend marks his third start of the season, following an eighth place finish at Iowa Speedway and a sixth place finish at DuQoin on the dirt.

“The two events I’ve raced – I’ve finished in the top-10, but I feel we haven’t had a fair shot as we’ve had freak mechanical issues both times in both events,” he said. “At Iowa, an alternator quit working and then the dirt race, we had engine issues after halfway. I feel confident we have our Is dotted, and Ts crossed, and we can have a fair shot at it and win it. I am confident entering this weekend.”

Even though he hasn’t raced much, he’s certainly one of the drivers to watch as a past champion, having picked up the crown in 2014 with a win, 12 top-fives and 18 top-10s in 20 races. Since then, he has run eight races with two wins and seven top-10s.

“That was a huge accomplishment not only for myself but for my whole team, family, and sponsors,” he said. “It’s something I will take with me forever. A lot of people can win races, but championships are hard to come by as you have to put the whole season together as ARCA doesn’t run a Chase format. The whole year matters; you can’t have one good race and then not the next race. You have to be consistent, and that’s what we did.”

While he hasn’t been behind the wheel much this year, he has been focused on the ownership side of his organization, running 11 drivers behind the wheel of his entries this season, scoring two wins (Gus Dean at Talladega; Justin Haley at Springfield), six top-fives and 13 top-10s in 23 races. Mitchell admits it can be tough at times to balance driving and the team.

“There’s a lot of stress involved in the ownership side in lining up the drivers and getting everything lined up logistically speaking to make things work for each weekend,” he said. “It’s a heck of a balancing act, but been able to work it out so far.”

He is looking forward to possibly getting back behind the wheel more in 2017, currently in the midst of working on a couple of different things right now.

“I’m working on a lot of stuff with my own team – different drivers, but trying to also focus on myself as well,” he said. “I’m at a point in my career where I’m going to keep moving up the ladder, so been going to meetings and trying to put myself in a position where I’m behind the wheel more moving up the ladder. It’s about finding a place I belong and can showcase my ability.”

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Mason Mitchell Expands into K&N, Looking to Race More

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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Editorial

NASCAR Needs the Personality, Passion of ARCA’s Mason Mitchell

NEWTON, Iowa — In a NASCAR world largely dominated by the politically correct and corporate spokesmen with steering wheels, defending ARCA champion Mason Mitchell has positioned himself as a refreshing change of pace that deserves to race at the highest levels of the sport.

Mitchell won on Friday night at Iowa Speedway and celebrated in familiar fashion, unzipping his firesuit in Victory Lane to reveal a shirt that featured the Superman “S” emblem. It is a performance that revealed a big personality that is only matched by his talent and sheer determination to advance to the next level.

For whatever reason, Mitchell has flown under the radar this past year, unfortunate given the attributes he could bring to the table.

Despite besting Grant Enfinger to win the ARCA championship last season, Mitchell has been unable to secure the funding necessary to compete full-time in NASCAR Camping World Trucks or XFINITY Series, which is a shame because he is one of the most engaging personalities the discipline has to offer.

“My main goal is to race the Sprint Cup someday and be a successful driver who wins races and championships,” Mitchell said on Friday night in Victory Lane. “As of now, I have no clue what the hell is going on, but I’m going to work as hard as I can every single day of my life and try to put stuff together.

“Because I know that every time I get behind the wheel, I’m going to drive like I did tonight.”

At 21-years-old, Mitchell is much wiser than his eccentric personality would suggest. In addition to sporadically driving in ARCA and the K&N Pro Series East, Mitchell is also the de facto manager of Mason Mitchell Motorsports and is in the shop every day working to improve the cars for his current full-time driver — Austin Wayne Self.

He has embroidered the phrase “Never Give Up” on his firesuit and considers it more than a motto — it’s a way of life.

Fans consistently take to Twitter and message boards with the complaint that drivers are too vanilla, too pretentious and not driven enough by the traditions of NASCAR. In that regard, Mitchell was tailor made for the blue-collar fan looking for a big personality and hard-worker to call their own.

Both self-aware and conscious of the sport as a whole, Mitchell says he welcomes those fans and often speaks of his desire to both work hard and entertain for the common man in the grandstand.

“Fans want charisma and entertainment,” Mitchell said when asked about his flamboyant style. “That’s what I want to bring… After winning the championship but having to take a step back, it’s taken a huge toll on me mentally, knowing that there are a lot of guys out there racing and I’m not one of them.

“Because of that, I realize that I need to do whatever it takes to get to the top and it doesn’t matter how many people I piss off. It’s all about going after that checkered flag and these people of Iowa and making them happy. Having my own character.”

Mitchell grew up outside of Des Moines, making Iowa a home race for the defending champion. When not in the shop or at the track this week, Mitchell was making media rounds across the region or roaming the spectator area.

Connecting with people is both his biggest strength and best attribute and called winning in front of the hometown crowd the biggest accomplishment of his career.

“I just appreciate all the fan support,” Mitchell said. “It means everything to me. It’s been a long time coming. It means so much to win to win here and I’m super pumped.

“I can’t even put this into words. It’s the Daytona 500 to me, it’s bigger than the damn championship. This is huge. I don’t know what it will mean for later but we’re going to celebrate like animals tonight.”

Mitchell is just a guy. He’s an extremely talented and driven guy, but he’s just an ordinary guy that wants to resonate with ordinary people and have success at the highest levels of the sport.

All told, Mitchell is one of the most refreshing things going Stock Car racing and it’s about time the rest of the industry took notice.

EMAIL MATT AT matt.weaver@popularspeed.com

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ARCA Iowa: Todd Gilliland, Mason Mitchell Return for #ThisIsMySpeedway150

DES MOINES, Iowa — The last time Todd Gilliland appeared in the ARCA Racing Series, it was his debut at Toledo Speedway back in May, where the just-turned 15-year-old scored one of the most improbable victories in the recent history of Stock Car racing.

Now the third-generation driver has returned to Venturini Motorsports for the Friday night event at Iowa Speedway where he will work on building his resume, and perhaps, stay perfect in ARCA Racing competition in the #ThisIsMySpeedway150.

Gilliland is the son of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Gilliland but earned his own headlines by becoming the youngest winner in ARCA history at Toledo, hoisting the trophy at just 15 years and two days.

He won that race by surviving a massive six-car pileup that began at the front of the field when leader Grant Eninger suffered an engine failure coming out of Turn 2 which collected a majority of the leaders. Gilliland was running sixth at the time of the incident, avoided significant damage, and chased down Josh Williams and Tommy Hessert over the final 10 laps en route to ARCA history.

Gilliland called his victory at Toledo “a dream come true” but added that it doesn’t change his expectations or modesty towards Friday night.

“As a driver you want to win every time out but I understand the realities of racing,” Gilliland said. “My expectations are the same as they were before my first race — complete all the laps and gain experience. I’ve got a great team behind me and tough competition ahead of me on the track.

“We’ll do our best and take it one lap at a time.”

READ MORE: Son of Team Penske Executive Set for ARCA Debut at Iowa

Just as it was at Toldeo, the Gilliland effort will be spearheaded by crew chief Jeff McClure. The event will mark the first time that Gilliland has ever raced at Iowa and the 7/8-mile D-shaped oval is also the largest that the Late Model Stock Car contender has ever competed on as well.

“My first laps at Iowa will come on Friday at practice,” Gilliland said. “I hear it’s pretty fast. I’m getting a lot of good advice and will lean on my teammate Brandon Jones quite a bit.

Jones has competed at Iowa in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series over the past calandar year.

“He might not be much older than me but I know he’s had a lot of success and knows his way around Iowa,” Gilliland said. “He’ll be a big help.”

Defending Champion Mitchell To Make Final Start of Season at Home

Defending ARCA champion Mason Mitchell will make his final scheduled start of the season on Friday night at Iowa and has already made the boldest claim of the weekend.

Returning to his childhood home track, the Des Moines native says he must win on Friday night.

“As a driver you want to win every race, but when it’s your home race you want to win it a little bit more,” Mitchell said. “I always put a little bit more pressure on myself when we race at Iowa Speedway because we always have a lot of friends, family and sponsors attending and we want to win for them. Bottom line is we have to win, anything short of winning on Friday will be a disappointment.

Mitchell will drive the No. 78 Karl Chevrolet for Mason Mitchell Motorsports. Karl Chevrolet is a leading Chevrolet dealership in Ankeny, Iowa.

“I can’t thank Karl Chevrolet for stepping up and coming on-board for this weekend,” Mitchell said. “Karl Chevrolet has done a lot for the Des Moines area and it means a lot for me to represent them this weekend at Iowa Speedway.”

The 21-year-old has two previous starts at Iowa, most recently in 2013 when he finished sixth. In two starts Mitchell has two top-10 finishes. Mitchell also made his ARCA debut at his home track back in 2012, making Friday night a full-circle moment for the defending champion.

Austin Wayne Self Looks to Go Back-to-Back

Fresh off of his first career ARCA victory last month at Winchester Speedway, Austin Wayne Self has legitimate momentum heading into the #ThisIsMySpeedway150 on Friday Iowa Speedway.

“Winning at Winchester was absolutely amazing,” Self said. “We worked so hard to get that first win and to be able to do it in front of family and friends was priceless.

“I am looking forward to getting back to Iowa Speedway on Friday. Iowa is a great short track that allows drivers to run multiple grooves. We have been very successful on the short tracks in 2015 and I look forward to continuing that success with Mason Mitchell Motorsports this weekend.”

Self still fancies himself a championship contender with eight races remaining in the ARCA Racing Series season. He is currently fourth and 175 points out of the top spot. His No. 98 Chevrolet won the championship last season with Mason Mitchell so a comeback effort isn’t entirely out of the question if he can catch fire.

Self heads into Iowa Speedway leading the Short Track Challenge point standings by 10 points over Kyle Weatherman. In five short track starts in 2015 Self and the No. 98 team has earned four top-five finishes with six top-10’s.

Self has one prior start at the .875-mile track located in Newton, Iowa. In 2013, he brought home a top-15 finish.

Updated ARCA Championship Standings

  1. Grant Enfinger Ldr.
  2. Josh Williams -85
  3. Tom Hessert -95
  4. Austin Wayne Self -175
  5. David Levine -210
  6. Sarah Cornett-Ching -410
  7. Bo LeMastus -455
  8. Thomas Praytor -480
  9. Bobby Hamilton, Jr. -510
  10. James Swanson -715

ARCA Iowa Entry List

  • Wayne Peterson
  • Mike Abram
  • Sarah Cornett-Ching
  • Josh White
  • Bobby Gerhart
  • Con Nicolopoulos
  • Josh Williams
  • Thomas Praytor
  • Rick Clifton
  • David Sear
  • Tom Berte
  • Kyle Weatherman
  • Grant Enfinger
  • Brandon Jones
  • J. Fike
  • Blake Jones
  • Bo LeMastus
  • James Swanson
  • Matt Tifft
  • Ken Schrader
  • Matt Kurzejewski
  • Todd Gilliland
  • Michael Lira
  • Mark Meunier
  • Will Kimmel
  • Tom Hessert
  • Mason Mitchell
  • Kevin Campbell
  • Kevin Hinckle
  • Richard Altman
  • Austin Wayne Self
  • Austin Cindric

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ARCA Champ Mason Mitchell To Make K&N Debut at The Stadium

Much like Clark Kent leaving Smallville for the bright lights and big opportunities in Metropolis, “Superman” Mason Mitchell has arrived in NASCAR.

While the defending ARCA Racing Series champion has made one previous start in the Camping World Truck Series back in November at Homestead, Mitchell has been given an opportunity to win his first NASCAR race, joining Hattori Racing Enterprises for a one-off start this Saturday night in the K&N Pro Series East race at Bowman Gray Stadium.

The move reunites him with crew chief Jamie Jones, whom Mitchell worked with in the second half of last season, defeating Grant Enfinger for the ARCA championship. It was his relationship with Jones, dating back to their pairing at Empire Racing in 2013, that led him to Shigeaki Hattori who employs Jones as the crew chief of his NASCAR Pro Series efforts.

“We’ve known Jamie for a long time,” Mitchell told Popular Speed on Thursday morning. “So he’s over there with ‘Shige,’ trying to rebuild their program and we’ve been talking about doing things together for a while. It got serious about a week ago and Shige gave me this opportunity to go race at The Stadium.

“I don’t know if this is the perfect place for me to make my debut, but I’m excited to go down there and chase a NASCAR win.”

His hesitation is due to the combustible and random nature of competing at the Winston Salem football stadium that happens to have a flat quarter-mile racing surface circling the circumference of the gridiron.

The bump and run, spin to win and cars sliding across the field are just a normal day at the park for those racing at “The Madhouse,” which has seen stock car racing since 1946.

Despite driving the same equipment that Brett Moffitt drove to five wins in 2011 and 2012, Mitchell knows he has his work cut out for him — not because of the equipment but due to the nature of racing at this specific circuit.

“This equipment is solid,” Mitchell said. “Shige and Jamie are working really hard to get their program back to where it was not too long ago and these are good cars. But anyone has a shot at The Stadium with people getting moved out of the way or turned around. But we’ve had a lot of success with Jamie and we hope to do it again.”

If all goes well, Mitchell said it’s not unlikely that they could team up for additional races this season. Despite winning the ultra-competitive ARCA championship, Mitchell knows it’s equally important for him to excel in the NASCAR spotlight.

He’s also pursuing the funding and partners to make additional Truck and XFINITY starts. Success in the K&N Series could go a long way towards that goal.

“I think so,” Mitchell said of remaining in the K&N Series for additional races this season. “Shige wants to be successful and have the best possible people in place. This is a one-race deal but we could do more if this works out.

“I’m really excited.”

While BGS is a unique track by every measurable standard, it is a short track where Mitchell has enjoyed the majority of his success, dating back to the ARCA Racing Series. The 20-year-old has made 22 short track starts and has accumulated 17 top-10s and nine top-5s.

To win on Saturday night, he knows he has to start up front and control the pace of the race.

“Qualifying is going to be a key component for the race,” Mitchell said. “A winner has never started outside the top-10 so we need to start up front. I really enjoyed the track during the test and am looking forward to a successful race.”

NASCAR Hall of Fame 150 Notebook

  • This is the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East’s fifth visit to Bowman Gray Stadium.
  • The K&N Pro Series East made its debut at Bowman Gray on June 4, 2011. Coleman Pressley was the inaugural pole sitter and Matt DiBenedetto the race winner.
  • The NASCAR Hall of Fame 150 will air on NBCSN on Thursday, June 4 at 6 p.m. ET.
  • Ben Rhodes was the first driver in the five years at Bowman Gray to win from the pole position.
  • The most cautions in a K&N Pro Series East event at “The Stadium” was 15 in the inaugural 2011 event and the fewest was 10 in 2012.
  • The average starting position for the winner is 3.75 while the pole sitter has an average finish of 10.25.
  • The 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame 150 was the only one of the first of four Bowman Gray events not to be extended to a green-white-checkered finish.
  • Chevrolet (2), Ford (1) and Toyota (1) have all gone to Victory Lane at Bowman Gray.

Championship Standings

  1. William Byron Ldr.
  2. Austin Hill -14
  3. Kyle Benjamin -19
  4. Scott Heckert -37
  5. Gray Gaulding -37
  6. Nick Drake -39
  7. Ronnie Bassett, Jr. -41
  8. Dalton Sargeant -45
  9. Kaz Grala -45
  10. David Garbo, Jr. -46
  11. J. Haley -52
  12. Rico Abreu -54
  13. Dillon Bassett -60
  14. Kenzie Ruston -66
  15. Collin Cabre -67
The NASCAR Hall of Fame 150 will be not air live. Instead it will be televised on the NBC Sports Network on Thursday, June 4th at 6 p.m. ET.

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ARCA Mobile 200 Offers Unique Jukebox Trophy to Race Winner

MOBILE, Ala. – In just three seasons, the ARCA Mobile 200 Jukebox Trophy has become one of the most recognized and desired prizes in all of Stock Car racing.

Crosley Radio will once again present the winner of the second ARCA race of the season with a full-sized 42″ iJuke deluxe jukebox. The trophy has quickly joined the Martinsville grandfather clock, the Nashville guitar and Miles the Monster as one of the most unique prizes in motorsports.

“We like to think this is the coolest trophy in racing” event promoter Tommy Praytor told Popular Speed. “We really appreciate Crosley Radio providing this one of a kind trophy for our race. I’ve told the story several times but it’s really one of those things that just happened and it really fits our event.”

Praytor, who serves as the race strategist for his son — Thomas Praytor in ARCA, first came across the idea while his team was parked next to the Crosley team hauler two years ago at Daytona International Speedway. Crosley CEO Bo LeMastus is also a semi-regular on the tour and will compete in the Mobile 200 on Saturday.

One of LeMastus’ crew members pulled the iJuke out of the hauler for display and Praytor says he immediately knew that he had to make it the trophy for his signature event. LeMastus agreed and a deal was quickly put together.

The trophy is based on a nostalgic jukebox design but the interior is full of modern technologies like an AM/FM radio, CD player, MP3/WAV reader plus an iPod docking station.

The trophy has become such a hot commodity amongst the ARCA garage that even the defending tour champion, Mason Mitchell, has filed a one-off entry in the hopes of rocking out in Victory Lane.

“It’s simple, I want the jukebox,” Mitchell said. “Mobile has become the top short track on the ARCA schedule in a very short time. The trophy is the Martinsville grandfather clock of the ARCA Series.

“We learned a lot from last year and our short track program was really strong at the end of the year.”

Mitchell finished third in the Mobile 200 last season and should be considered one of the favorites alongside defending winner Grant Enfinger — the only competitor to have earned the jukebox, having won both events since it was first offered in 2013.

“It’s a really cool trophy,” Enfinger said. “I really take a lot of pride in racing at Mobile. As the only guy to have won the jukebox, we’ve been working really hard at the shop to keep it that way.”

The ARCA Mobile 200 is set for March 14 and is the second event of the 2015 season. The race will not be televised but complete flag-to-flag coverage of each track session on Friday and Saturday can be accessed on the ARCA Series website.

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NASCAR Trucks: Miami Post-Race Notebook

By Matt Weaver (HOMESTEAD, Fla.) — Despite all of his early success, defending ARCA Racing Series champion Mason Mitchell admitted that he still has much to learn, following a 16th-place finish in his NASCAR Truck Series debut on Friday night at Homestead Miami Speedway.

Mitchell hopes to go full-time in the Truck Series in 2015 but hasn’t finalized the pieces to make that a reality — at least for his homegrown Mason Mitchell Motorsports operation. In addition to acquiring the funding needed to go full-time, Mitchell also needs experience and seat time, having never turned a lap in a Camping World Truck prior to the first practice session on Thursday afternoon.

After finishing on the lead lap with a relatively unscathed truck, Mitchell left Miami with an optimistic perspective on his NASCAR debut and learning curve.

“It’s so hard to pass here,” Mitchell told Popular Speed after the race. “So the one thing I had to learn was that keeping momentum up is even more important here than it was back in ARCA. I think we had a 10th-to-12th place truck — speed wise — but didn’t have the track position or the experience needed to pass better.

“I feel like I learned a lot and left here able to remove my Miami rookie stripe. I really enjoyed the weekend and hope that it leads us to where we can do even more next season.”

Mitchell says he has a full-time driver signed for his ARCA Series team and is now placing most of his efforts towards extending this Homestead one-off in the Truck Series into something permanent or full-time.

Joe Nemechek Optimistic for 2015 Trucks Operation

While proud of the efforts of his son and team at NEMCO Motorsports this season, driver-owner Joe Nemechek is actually somewhat disappointed by their overall statistics.

Entering Speedweeks and the start of the 2014 season, the 20-year NASCAR veteran actually expected the first-year Truck squad to challenge for wins against the likes of Kyle Busch Motorsports, Brad Keselowski Racing and ThorSports Motorsports, regardless of which driver was behind the wheel.

Combined, the father-son duo finished with an average result of 10.0 with 15 top-10s in 22 events.

With that said, he doesn’t want those unfulfilled expectations to get misread as disappointment in John Hunter either. Despite the lack of victories, the elder Nemechek remains proud of his son and praised him after the race on Friday at Homestead.

“I thought we were going to be better than we were this year,” Nemechek told Popular Speed. “John Hunter has definitely come through. All of his races on the mile or less tracks, he’s been awesome.

“He’s had 10 really good runs and was close to winning a couple of them. I came close to winning one or two of them too and we’ve made some big gains at the end of the year. I’m looking forward to the beginning of next year. ”

Next season will again see Joe and John Hunter split driving duties at least until the younger Nemechek turns 18-years-old on June 11. By this point, Front Row Joe hopes to have found sponsorship to have a second truck to race against his son on special occasions.

“There are five big track races that I have to run next year before he’s eligible,” Joe Nemechek said. “He’ll take over once he’s 18 and he’ll run them all. We’re desperately trying to find more sponsorship dollars and with more dollars comes the opportunity to keep this truck running full-time and maybe get us a second one for me to run on special occasions.”

Spencer Gallagher Improving in Advance of 2015 Full-Season

Spencer Gallagher has made 12 starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series over the past two seasons and believes that he has methodically improved during that time.

With six top-15s in nine starts this season, the results are starting to pour in at the perfect time as Gallagher recently announced that he will race full-time in the Truck Series in 2015, returning to his family grown GMS Racing.

“This was GMS Racing’s first year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series,” Gallagher said. “This is my first season here with my assembled team here trying to do this and next year is my first full NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season so there have been some challenges.

“But I’ve had people tell me that I’ve really impressed from where I started to where I am now so I always try to take that into my heart when I’m down. It’s really good to have that supportive group around and I’m really looking forward to next year.”

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Trucks

Experience Is the Watchword for Mitchell in Trucks Debut

By Matt Weaver (HOMESTEAD, Fla.) — For defending ARCA Racing Series champion Mason Mitchell, making his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this weekend at Homestead Miami Speedway has been a matter of gaining experience.

Mitchell is “flying blind” in that despite all of his success in ARCA on intermediate tracks, the 21-year-old prospect had never turned a lap in a NASCAR Truck until the first of two practice sessions on Thursday in Miami-Dade County.

No driver ran more laps in those sessions than Mitchell as he looked to shorten his learning curve prior to race day for the newly-formed No. 48 New England Energy Management Ford squad.

“Experience is important,” Mitchell said. “I don’t want to go out there in my first race and make a fool of myself. I want to have a good showing and have a good solid race. I intend to do just that and hopefully run in the top-10. I want to run up front and turn some heads. This is my one shot right now and I intend to make the most of it.”

Despite the lack of experience, Mitchell is certainly equipped for success on Friday night in Florida. The chassis, prepared out of his own Mason Mitchell Motorsports shop in Mooresville, is the same entry that Ryan Blaney took to a second-place finish in this event last season while under the possession of Brad Keselowski Racing.

Mitchell will also be able to lean on the veteran experience of crew chief Ricky Viers who has seven wins at the Truck Series level with four different drivers, including Kevin Harvick. He’s asked Blaney for some tips but admits that he is largely going into the experience with much to learn.

“I’ve talked Blaney and some of his guys a little bit but we’re entering this race as lone soliders,” Mitchell said. “But we did that all year in ARCA though so I’m confident in what we have and that we can have a good run (on Friday) night.”

Mitchell captured the ARCA championship in just his first full season and first altogether with MMM. In 20 starts, Mitchell posted a single victory, 12-top-5s and 18 top-10s, defeating a very stout Grant Enfinger in the final point standings.

Now Mitchell looks to take his considerable talents to South Beach and NASCAR, while working to connect the pieces needed to win championships here as well.

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