Mason Mitchell was our guest on Fan4Racing NASCAR & Race Talk on Monday, August 22, 2016. Listen to the Fan4Racing Radio Podcast of his interview during the first 30 minutes.
Before Sunday, 17-year-old Justin Haley hadn’t raced on dirt since early on in his career when he raced mini sprints. Haley made up for lost time, becoming the youngest winner in the history of the Illinois State Fairgrounds at age 17. A crash between the two leaders allowed Haley to claim the lead. He never looked back, capturing the first ARCA win of his young career and second win of the 2016 season for Mason Mitchell Motorsports (MMM).
“I’m a little surprised,” Haley stated. “Never would I have dreamed in a million years my first ARCA win would come on a dirt track, but to be here in victory lane is super cool. This dirt track racing is definitely different…it’s tough. I would never have expected this. I’m really happy for Mason Mitchell Motorsports…it’s so cool to get those guys a win here.”
Haley raced his way up to the runner-up position and unfortunately got out the groove with 26 laps to go and fell back to the 12th spot. Haley showed maturation beyond his years and methodically passed each car one by one until claiming the top spot with inside ten laps to go.
“We had our work cut out for us after we got out of the groove and fell back to 12th.” I was very determined to get the No. 98 back up to the front. Luckily we had a few cautions that fell our way and helped us out.”
Haley had to survive a Green-White-Checkered Finish On the final restart he was able to clear Unzicker and drive off to capture his first career win and second win of the 2016 season for MMM.
“I tried to hold him (Unzicker) off the best I could,” Haley said. “I stayed strong through that first corner. I was very impressed how well he ran us, up on the outside of us. We almost wrecked down the backstretch, but we held onto it.”
Haley’s win made him the eighth first time winner in ARCA competition and the second first time winner with MMM in 2016. Gus Dean won at Talladega in May for his first career ARCA victory.
2014 ARCA Racing Series champion and MMM crew chief Mason Mitchell picked up his second win as crew chief for the No. 98 in 2016. The win also marked the sixth victory for MMM since the 2014 season.
“This is a big confidence booster for myself and everyone at MMM,” crew chief/owner Mason Mitchell stated. “We’ve been through a lot lately and to overcome it all and get back to our winning ways means a lot. Justin did a great job all day and was very patient after we fell back. It was a blessing to work with him.”
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards heads to the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds Mile Dirt next for the General Tire GRABBER 100 Sunday night, September 4, marking the first night race for the ARCA tour at DuQuoin. The ARCA Radio Network will have live coverage from the “Magic Mile.” The American Sports Network will broadcast the race on a tape delayed basis with the date being announced at a later date.