ARCA Owner, Driver Champ Mitchell sorting through new role at Mason Mitchell Motorsports; debuting new ARCA Racing Series composite body at Mobile

ARCA Owner, Driver Champ Mitchell sorting through new role at Mason Mitchell Motorsports; debuting new ARCA Racing Series composite body at Mobile

(TOLEDO, Ohio - March 6, 2015) - Mason Mitchell was one of only a handful of drivers over ARCA’s rich history to win the driver and car owner championship in the same season. It happened in 2014 soon after Mason Mitchell Motorsports (MMM) was formed in the final months of 2013. Considering the newly-formed team and the tight turn-around to get things ready to run the whole year, Mitchell’s accomplishments last year were nothing short of remarkable.

So remarkable in fact that last year’s SCOTT Rookie of the Year Austin Wayne Self wanted in on the action and switched from his Cunningham Motorsports team he raced for in 2014 to Mason Mitchell Motorsports for 2015.

That essentially wiggled Mitchell from the driver’s seat of his own No. 98 Ford Fusion to make room for Self. While Mitchell is expected to drive a handful of races in 2015, his role has changed considerably from owner/driver to owner/coach/consultant.

“Honestly, I think it’s working out pretty well,” Mitchell said regarding his new role at Mason Mitchell Motorsports.

“I think that’s part of my success…that I can adapt to change pretty well. I really don’t see it as change anyway…it’s just part of the process of getting me where I ultimately want to go. I haven’t retired from driving race cars by a long shot.”

And that was quite clear at Daytona Int’l Speedway back in February where Mitchell, in addition to fielding the 98 car for Self, fielded a second car for himself to drive – a No. 78 MMM Ford Fusion. Mitchell responded with a sixth place finish at the “World Center of Racing.” Self steered the AM Technical Solutions 98 Ford Fusion home in 15th.

“It’s not the finish we wanted,” added Mitchell, “but when you come out of a restrictor plate race with a complete car, it’s a good day.”

So with Daytona in the books, it’s time to shift gears to the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards short track schedule…to the annual visit to Mobile Int’l Speedway for the ARCA Mobile 200 this Saturday, March 14.

To get a jump start, the MMM team tested twice at Mobile – back in late February, and again just last Saturday. In addition to trying to sharpen the edges on the team’s short track program, one of the main focal points of the testing was to try out the new ARCA Racing Series composite body style along with the new ARCA Ilmor 396 engine package.

“I mean, the main reason we tested was to get a better handle on our short track program overall. We’ll be trying some new things…that’s what testing is for…and with the new car, there are going to be a lot of unknowns, so we want to get ahead of that new body and engine package. We definitely want to be the first to win with the new composite body.”

Self, in addition to keeping up with his home schooling, is spending most of his days in the MMM shop in Mooresville, North Carolina.

“I’m always mixing in a little school work no matter where I am,” Self said. “But I want to be here in the shop and learn everything I can about this new car. I want to have our short track program ready when we hit the track for the race.”

Self has already had a great deal of success in ARCA’s short track world, earning three career-best runner-up finishes at Winchester in 2013, and Lucas Oil Raceway and Berlin Raceway in 2014.

“It’s all about figuring out that new composite body,” Self added. “We’re all learning the new body. It’s going to be interesting. It’s a little lighter, so it may carry more speed through the corners. We’ll see how tough they are…how strong they are.”

It’s also about meshing with a new team where Mitchell’s duties are clearly different than what the W. Des Moines, Iowa racer is accustomed to.

“There’s a lot of feedback between Austin and me that’s going to be ongoing,” Mitchell added. “I have all my notes from last year, but as the leader of this team, I feel it’s my job to keep everything organized…keep everyone calm, cool, and focused. I preach how important communication is all the time.

“Everyone knows their job but every team needs a leader to steer the ship. I’ve got every notebook from last year, and I’ll be referring to all those notes, plus downloading new ones with all the changes we’re seeing in ARCA. After each race, the team will be meeting and debriefing with one another.

“This is definitely shaping up to be something good. Just because my role has changed, I’m not going to let it be difficult. It’s my team…I care a lot about it…and I plan on continuing the success we’ve already earned. This is just the beginning of my dream of driving at the highest levels of this sport…only the beginning. I want more championships. I see me doing a lot of driving in the future, but I also plan to keep this current role too. I want Mason Mitchell Motorsports to survive for decades to come.”

Other teams planning to utilize the new ARCA Racing Series composite body at Mobile include Venturini Motorsports, Lira Motorsports, Cunningham Motorsports and Kimmel Racing.

By Don Radebaugh

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