Frank Kimmel and Mason Mingus, a Rookie and a Veteran Vying for an ARCA Championship; Next stop – Talladega Superspeedway for the Int’l Motorsports Hall of Fame 250Press Release
Albeit early in the 2013 season, nine-time ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards champion Frank Kimmel and 18-year-old Scott Rookie Challenge contender Mason Mingus are neck and neck for the championship points battle. In fact, headed into Friday’s Int’l Motorsports Hall of Fame 250 at Talladega Superspeedway, Kimmel leads Mingus by just 30 points.
It’s an odd match-up, a teenager who’s still in high school and a grown man with kids graduating from college, yet it’s there, as loud and compelling as ever. In plain numbers, 33 years separate Kimmel, who turned 51 on April 30th, from Mingus, who won’t be 19 until November.
“It’s kind of the way it’s been over the last decade here,” Kimmel said. “If it’s not Mason, it’s some other rookie coming with all the right equipment and lots of talent. Mason might be new around here, but he’s been around for a while. He’s driven late models quite a bit, and has shown a lot of promise. I consider him a formidable opponent for sure.”
A formidable opponent indeed. Mingus, in his first full season on tour, is off to a spectacular start in 2013 beginning with a solid seventh place showing in his Daytona debut, followed by a career-best fourth place finish on the Mobile Int’l Speedway short track where he earned his career-first Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell to boot. Mingus also finished 10th at Salem Speedway last Sunday.
“I’m really excited to race at Talladega after the performance we had at Daytona,” Mingus said. “I had never been on a superspeedway until Daytona, and we were solidly in the top-five and could have improved that throughout the race if I had not suffered front end damage on a restart when they stacked up in front of me. I came out of Daytona having learned a lot, and with a top 10 run; but I was still disappointed with a seventh place finish. I knew what we were capable of if we had not had to come from the back after repairs. Talladega gives me another chance to improve at a superspeedway and capture more points.”
And in the big picture, that’s what it’s all about – capturing points. In fact, if Mingus were to capture enough points to be the ARCA champion this year, he would become the youngest champion in series history, which says a lot considering the renowned stock car tour is in its 61st season of competition. Currently, Ty Dillon is the youngest champion, having earned the title at 19 years old in 2011.
“There is no one better in the ARCA series to be neck and neck with in the points battle than Frank,” continued the Brentwood, Tennessee rookie. “He has a lot of experience with this, having so many championships; but I think I have a good chance at it. I have a team that is very capable helping me win this championship. The amount that they taught me in just 11 races last year was incredible, and it gave us a big head start into this year, and I think we can continue and improve our success.”
The team Mingus is referring to is Win Tron Racing, which has won several ARCA races with a variety of drivers over the years, including Joey Miller, Blake Bjorklund, James Buescher, and Matt Merrell to name a few.
“The Win Tron team is a huge deal for Mason,” Kimmel added. “They’re one of the best teams this series has ever seen. Win Tron will teach him more about racing than he can ever learn on his own. He’s shown a lot of promise. It’s a great team, and he’s obviously a real good little race driver. We’re going to have our hands full; there’s no doubt about it.”
Beyond the nine titles, Kimmel, unquestionably, has the edge at Talladega where the Clarksville, Indiana second-generation driver will make his 21st start on the 2.66-mile superspeedway. In fact, Kimmel made his first start at Talladega in 1992, two years before Mingus was born. However, among his 76 career wins (second all-time to Iggy Katona’s 79), Kimmel has just one victory at Talladega in 2006. But it’s also worth noting that he’s been close on several occasions with second place finishes in 1999, 2007, and most recently in 2011 when Ty Dillon edged Kimmel by a half-length at the final stripe.
“It’s that restrictor plate thing,” Kimmel said. “We’re always racing for points, so we haven’t always been able to commit the resources and effort it takes to win at Talladega. I don’t like racing that way, but when it comes to Daytona and Talladega, it’s a gamble anyway. No matter how good your car is, you’re at the mercy of everything around you. You’ve got to race pretty smart all day. If you can walk out the back gate with a top-10 at Talladega, you’re having a great day.”
While Kimmel comes back to Talladega with valuable seat-time, Mingus will take his very first laps at Talladega in 2013.
“We ran good at Daytona,” Mingus said. “I see no reason why we can’t go to Talladega and do the same thing. I’ve got the best team in ARCA in my opinion. That’s really what you need most to run good on these restrictor plate tracks.
“My goal going into this season was to win the points championship whether it’s against a nine-time champion or some other rookie. It’s an honor to be in contention for the championship with someone that has so much experience, but I am going to go after the title just as hard against anyone. Frank is a legend here, literally. Everyone looks up to him; I’m no different. I have the world of respect for him, just like everyone else around here; but that would make winning the championship even that much sweeter, and that much more meaningful.”
Onto Talladega, live on SPEED, live timing and scoring at ARCAracing.com
Straight from a short-track match at Salem Speedway, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards has a tight turnaround for Talladega. After competing in the 93rd ARCA race at Salem on Sunday, April 28, the series immediately steers for Talladega where the 51st annual Int’l Motorsports Hall of Fame 250 is set for Friday afternoon, May 3. All of the on-track activity at Talladega will be featured in Live Timing and Scoring at ARCAracing.com. The event is also live on SPEED, and live at WTDR Thunder 92.7 FM radio.
ARCA Champ Chris Buescher to be honored at Int’l Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards champion driver Chris Buescher will be among the list of inductees to be inducted into the Int’l Motorsports Hall of Fame Thursday evening during the Int’l Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Talladega Superspeedway. Buescher’s likeness will officially be added to the ARCA Wall of Fame, which was rededicated with a brand new design just last year. The ARCA Wall of Fame includes an impressive assortment of imagery representing 60 years of ARCA racing dating back to 1953. The ARCA Wall of Champions features all 30 different ARCA champions from 1953 forward, Buescher to be the latest addition.
The Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is among the leading and most diverse auto racing sanctioning bodies in the country. Founded in 1953 by John and Mildred Marcum, the organization administers more than 100 events each year in multiple racing series, including the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, the ARCA/CRA Super Series, the ARCA Truck Series and the ARCA Midwest Tour, plus weekly racing at Toledo and Flat Rock Speedways.
Source: Automobile Racing Club of America Press Release
Article Tags: ARCA, Automobile Racing Club of America, Frank Kimmel, International Motorsports Hall of Fame 250, Mason Mingus, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway