(TOLEDO, Ohio - September 5, 2013) - If you chase the entire ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards tour, sooner or later you're probably going to get relatively close to home.
Such will be the case for Mason Mitchell who will head home to Iowa Speedway for the eighth annual running of the Prairie Meadows 150 Saturday night September 7.
"This is my Daytona 500," said Mitchell, who made his ARCA debut at Iowa in 2012, finishing 10th.
"I've had this circled on my calendar since the start of the season. It would be surreal to win in front of my family, friends and fans. If we're going to win one, this would be the one."
Mitchell is certainly making the most of his home track experience. The local favorite has embarked on a two-day media blitz Wednesday and Thursday during which he will engage in four radio interviews, one newspaper interview and a TV appearance for his sponsor Happy Cheeks.
"It's been a lot of fun knowing that I have the support of the local media. I can't thank them enough for the coverage this week."
This week also marks the first time that Mitchell's sponsor Happy Cheeks will air a commercial on Des Moines CBS affiliate KCCI TV-8.
"Getting the commercial out for Happy Cheeks is important. It's all about getting their name out there and marketing their product as best as I can."
Mitchell also says that Iowa is his "favorite track."
"It's definitely my favorite track. Iowa Speedway has just the right amount of banking. It's one of the safest tracks out there - everything about it is first class. It's got multiple grooves. It's fast. It's like a superspeedway but small enough where you can bump and grind, and get away with it. It's an ideal track, and the Iowa fans are so loyal."
Since climbing aboard the No. 82 Empire Racing-Happy Cheeks Ford at Pocono, Mitchell has earned two Menards Pole Awards presented by Ansell, one top-five finish and five top-10s. He's also spent more time up front, leading 63 laps. His recent success has helped the 19-year-old's confidence on and off the track.
"The recent success has made me a believer in myself and my team. I believe we can get the job done and end up in victory lane very soon."
Mitchell debuted on the ARCA tour last year, driving for car owner Eddie Sharp. Between Sharp and Empire Racing - nine races total - Mitchell has never finished outside the top-10.
"The guys in the shop at Empire Racing work so hard. We wrecked a car right off the bat at Pocono, so they literally worked day and night to get another car ready for the next race at Berlin. We set a new track record with the car at Berlin, then took the same car to Springfield where we did the same thing (set a new track record.) It's the same car we raced at Madison and DuQuoin, and it's the same car we'll take to Iowa. Empire's hard work is really paying off."
Of course, the top-fives, top-10s and track records are all good things, but a victory at Iowa would be the ultimate payoff for Mitchell.
"We obviously want to win a race. We've accomplished some great things here, but winning is our next logical step. You obviously want to win anywhere, but to do it at Iowa would be unreal - to get my first win there. It would be a crazy celebration; I'll tell you that."
Practice for the Prairie Meadows 150 at Iowa Speedway is from 1:30-3:00 p.m. Saturday, September 7 with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell following at 5. The eighth annual Prairie Meadows 150 is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. local time.
The race is also live on FOX Sports 2, and will re-air on FOX Sports 1 at 8:00 a.m. next-day Sunday. ARCAracing.com will feature Live Timing & Scoring of all on-track activities.