(DUQUOIN, Ill. - August 31, 2012) - With just two races remaining in his freshman season in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, Brentwood, Tenn. native Mason Mingus is ready to leave his mark on the tour.
ARCA's annual Labor Day tradition, the Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Car Care at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, will be the second and final dirt contest of the season for the highly-diversified stock car series. For Mingus, it will be just his second dirt start in the No. 32 Diamond Equipment Chevrolet for Lakeville, Minn.'s Win-Tron Racing.
Twelve days ago, Mingus maneuvered an eighth-place finish at the mile oval of the Illinois State Fairgrounds nestled in Springfield, Ill. During the 100-lap contest, Mingus kept his Chevrolet cleanly inside the top 10 and took advantage of a last-lap swing to move from ninth to eighth, netting his sixth top-10 performance of the season.
His strong performance in last Sunday night's Herr's Live Life with Flavor 200 at Madison International Speedway was halted just before the halfway point when the brakes failed on the No. 32 Call 811 Before You Dig Chevrolet, leaving an unjust 23rd-place finish after starting sixth.
"I'm very excited and have high hopes for DuQuoin," said Mingus. "With the run that we had going at Springfield, I think we are going to have a great race car for Monday's race. I really enjoyed dirt racing and I am ready to give it another shot and use what we have learned to my advantage."
While an extremely tight schedule can put any rookie driver on their toes, the high school senior embraces the compact agenda.
"It's an incredibly fast-paced day, nearly identical to Springfield," Mingus said. "For me, that's a good thing. I don't have a lot of time to think. We practice, then qualify, and before you know it, it's time to race. We had such a strong run going at Madison last weekend but the black cloud showered down on us again and we experienced some tough luck. Hopefully, our bad luck is out for the rest of the season and we can just focus on running hard and clean and turn in our best performances of the season."
With DuQuoin and Salem Speedway the two remaining contests on deck for Mingus, he has secured six top-10 finishes, including a career-best finish of sixth at Winchester Speedway. The teenager admits, though, that he won't be satisfied with his partial season without a top-five or two.
"We've been trying for a while to finish inside the top five," Mingus said. "This team with (crew chief) Mark's (Rette) leadership gives us all the ingredients to make that happen.
"Unfortunately, for one reason or another we just haven't been able to seal the deal. My goal on Monday is turn that (goal) into a reality. I also feel like Salem is another place where we can make that happen as well. So if we can go two-for-two in my last two races of the year, I'll be extremely happy."
Said Nate Thiesse, car co-owner at Win-Tron Racing: "Mason's been raving about getting to DuQuoin ever since Springfield. He did a nice job there and we'll expect even better things from him on Monday. He knows what he can and cannot due on the dirt after Springfield. Even though the tracks are a little different, they still have some similarities and that should aid Mason in his goal of putting the No. 32 Diamond Equipment Chevrolet inside the top five. It's hard to believe that our season is drawing to a close with Mason this year; he's done a fantastic job."
Practice for the Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Car Care will begin at 9 a.m. and last for one hour, with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell starting at 11. The 100-lap, 100-mile race will take place at 1 p.m. All times are Central. ARCARacing.com will feature live timing and scoring coverage throughout the day, and ARCA Racing Network hosts Charlie Krall and Tim Clagg will deliver a live audio call for the race on the site.
From Team Release