As the ARCA Racing Series complete practice and qualifying for the Fan With Benefits 150 race at Iowa Speedway, several interesting numbers will likely continue to stack up.
In the 11 previous ARCA races at the mid-west facility, no driver has been successful in winning more than just one race since their first event in 2006, won by Steve Wallace. Based on the entry list, only one driver can change that. West Des Moines, Iowa native Mason Mitchell returns to the driver’s seat after a year-long absence. Mitchell, the 2014 ARCA Racing Series champion won at his home track in 2015 and his last race was this event in 2017.
Mason Mitchell could have also put his name on another short list of accomplishments, becoming only the third driver to win both a pole and a race at the 7/8 mile track. Steven Wallace and Ty Dillon both happened to have accomplished the feat in the same day, winning the race from the pole. Dillon is the only driver to have earned more than one General Tire Pole Award, winning it in 2010 and 2011. That opportunity, unfortunately, didn’t happen as Mitchell’s No. 98 had clutch problems during practice and then engine problems plagued them during qualifying. Mitchell just shut it down and came to the pit area to completely change out the engine, relegating him to starting last in tonight’s event.
Winning at Iowa Speedway is the last and main goal which again could be a huge deal if Mason Mitchell could pull it off at his hometown track, as he could become the first-ever repeat winner. Despite the engine issues and starting from the rear, his spirits were still high.
“Oh, I feel pretty good about our car and everything,” says Mitchell after qualifying. “It’s our chances (that) aren’t (going to) look too good, starting last. Unfortunately, we had some engine issues in qualifying but we’re going to overcome them and I feel real good about everything. And we’ll be there, hopefully, we’ll be the first guy ever to repeat here.”
Winning could lead to some big things. Looking at the list of previous winners at Iowa Speedway, the top levels of NASCAR is in some ways almost their destiny. Winners include Steve Wallace, Frank Kimmel, Matt Hawkins, Parker Kligerman, Tom Hessert, Ty Dillon, Alex Bowman, Grant Enfinger, Mason Mitchell, Chase Briscoe, and Dalton Sargent.
The ARCA Racing Series, Fans with Benefits 150 starts Saturday night at 9 pm ET and fans can follow the live timing and scoring at arcaracing.com.