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Sep 18, 2012 - 04:47 PM
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Mason Mingus Matches Career-Best At Salem Speedway
Posted by: newsla on Sep 18, 2012 - 04:42 PM
NASCAR News
Mason Mingus Matches Career-Best At Salem Speedway


Without a doubt it was a busy weekend for Mason Mingus. From a High School football game to some stock car madness on Saturday night at Salem (Ind.) Speedway, it was a satisfying weekend for the Brentwood, Tennessee native.

 

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The 17-year old, a student at Franklin Road Academy, helped his team to a 29-28 triumph over a school from Kentucky. Early the next morning, Mingus along with his father, Donnie, made the trip to Salem Speedway, arriving just minutes before the start of the driver’s meeting.

Still amped about his victory, the teenager knew it was time to get down to business and turned his concentration on the No. 32 Call 811 Before You Dig Toyota Camry prepared by Win-Tron Racing. Recording his first career ARCA Racing Series top-10 finish nearly five months ago, the Tennessean was determined to do it again but with even better results.

With two practice sessions set for Saturday afternoon, Mingus worked with crew chief Mark Rette to fine-tune their No. 32 Call 811 Before You Dig Toyota Camry for the 18th race of the season. Practicing 10th and 11th respectively, the Lakeville, Minnesota-based team struggled to get their car to rotate through the corners at the treacherous 0.5-mile oval. Still, the team had made major strides heading into qualifying and remained highly optimistic.

Despite maneuvering only the 15th quickest time during time trials Saturday afternoon, the avid racer believed that his automobile would come to life during the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic by Federated Car Care.

He was right.

During the race, Mingus methodically worked his way forward in the running order. By lap 40, Mingus was knocking on the door of the top-10 and thanks to great coaching from his spotter, the rookie driver was able to avoid chaos when a multi-car incident occurred coming out of turn four on lap 47, collecting several of the leaders.

When racing resumed, Mingus found himself comfortably in the top-10 and working his way up. Some twenty laps later, he found himself riding comfortably inside the top-five but would come under attack a short time later from drivers Frank Kimmel II and eventual winner Tom Hessert.

Still, remaining solidly in the top-10 after the halfway point, Mingus joined the rest of the competition on pit road nearing lap 115 making his final pit stop of the night and returning to lead lap status after receiving the lucky dog award.

Restarting eighth and at the tail end of the longest line, Mingus needed a caution to find himself on the back bumper of the lead lap competitors. He didn’t have to wait long for the yellow flag to fly again.

In the winding laps and finding himself in the hunt for a top-five finish, Mingus would battle it out over the final 50 laps and overtake Frank Kimmel II for sixth in the late stages of the final short track race of the year but come up a few laps short of passing the No. 22 of Alex Bowman for fifth.

Still, Mingus’s run on Saturday earned him his seventh top-10 of the year. The finish also tied his career-best finish in the ARCA Racing Series after also finishing sixth at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway, a track similar to Salem in June.

“This weekend went pretty well overall,” said Mingus. “We were all hoping for a stronger finish and I feel like I definitely had a car capable of a top-five for sure. I needed a caution at the end of the race, because we still had two new tires in our pit. We had to fight our way back all night after going a lap down. The guys at Win-Tron Racing once again gave me a great car. We just need a little bit of racing luck and I think we can have a good chance at getting my first ARCA win.”

Nate Thiesse, co-car owner of Win-Tron Racing offered his sentiments on his protégés performance at Salem. “Mason did an excellent job. He never gave up and neither did this team. We weren’t real great to start but the changes Mark (Rette, crew chief) made during the day and night worked and Mason was able to run hard at the end of the night and turn in a good finish. We’re still itching for that top-five run and we have one more shot to do it at DuQuoin in a few weeks, so that’s our goal, no more, no less.”

This season, Mingus has 11 starts with seven top-10 finishes including a career-best of sixth at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway and Salem (Ind.) Speedway (September). A sixth-place qualifying run at Madison (Wisc.) International Speedway is his best time trials efforts to-date.

In addition to Call 811 Before You Dig, Diamond Equipment leaped aboard the team as an associate marketing partner for Mingus’s 12th-career ARCA start.

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