(MILLVILLE, N.J. - July 3, 2012) - ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards rookie Mason Mingus concluded the month of June just as he started it: strong.
Traveling from the high banks of the brutal half-mile of Winchester (Ind.) Speedway the week before, Mingus and his Win-Tron Racing team headed to New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) for the running of the All-American Race Weekend presented by Global Barter Corporation.
The weekend, however did not come without its challenges. Mother Nature first affected the area on Friday night into Saturday morning with a stream of severe weather which knocked out power in the local area including the facilities of NJMP. Despite the lack of electricity, the weekend pressed forward with a delay of one-hour with two practice sessions and qualifying on-tap.
Unfortunately, the Lakeville, Minnesota-based team would be tested during the two practice sessions on Saturday afternoon after Mingus ran off course during his first lap on the 2.3-mile paved Thunderbolt Raceway. The damage was minimal but cost them valuable track time which resulted in just a handful of laps being made during the session.
Still, with confidence from crew chief Mark Rette, Mingus climbed behind the wheel of his No. 32 Call 811 Before You Dig Toyota Camry looking to dial in their automobile in “happy hour” leading up to qualifying and then the 10th race of the season. The Brentwood, Tennessee native mounted the 21st quickest lap in the final practice rundown but he notified his crew of a serious vibration coming from the transmission of his automobile.
Better to be safe than sorry and after a team discussion, the decision was made to forgo Menards pole qualifying presented by Ansell in order to make the change to a back-up transmission for race day. In Mingus’s road-course debut, the 17-year old would line up 29th. With his team preaching patience on race day, Mingus knew that his goal for the 67-lap event was to stay on-track, learn and take the checkered flag.
Mounting respectable lap times throughout the race, the former ARCA / CRA star had climbed solidly into the top-15 by the halfway point of the event. By lap 41, the No. 32 Call 811 Before You Dig Toyota Camry had cracked the top-10 for the first time of the day, idling in ninth. Two laps later though, Mingus found himself having to protect his top-10 position falling into the clutches of nine-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel and the No. 81 machine.
Briefly, Mingus slipped out of the top-10 and hunkered in 11th by when the caution flag waived on lap 54, Mingus found himself back in the top-10 in eighth. Restarting the event with 10 laps remaining, Mingus found himself under pressure from the other Kimmel, Will for ninth. Encouragement from his spotters instructed the teenager to try and follow the No. 68 who was on newer tires through the pack.
Sitting in ninth shortly after the restart, Mingus was able to pass road-racer Tom Hessert who took an unplanned path off the racecourse to move back into eighth. With a big margin from behind to Hessert, Mingus ran his own race in the final laps trying to run-down the No. 44 of Frank Kimmel but ran out of laps and took the checkered flag in eighth marking Mingus’s third straight top-10 finish in the ARCA Racing Series.
“It was an eventful weekend for sure,” said Mingus. “I learned a lot. We had our challenges in practice. I overdrove the corner in the first practice and locked up our No. 32 Call 811 Before You Dig Toyota Camry and went off the track. I was beating myself up pretty hard over it, but these guys on the Win-Tron Racing team are resilient. They kept telling me to brush it off and refocus. So, that’s exactly what I did. We made some gains in the second practice but then had the transmission issues. Thankfully for us, when the race rolled around, we had exhausted all of our misfortune and really had a clean solid race. We’ll take an eighth for our first road-course together. June was a good month for us together, I’m hoping for even more in July.”
Nate Thiesse, co-car owner of Win-Tron Racing offered his sentiments on his protégés performance at NJMP. “Mason’s the real deal,” Thiesse said. “Even after his mistake in practice, he apologized, but dug deep, jumped right back into the saddle and never gave up. He exercised patience in the race and it paid off with the finish that we were looking for. He just impresses me every weekend he gets behind the wheel of our No. 32 Call 811 Before You Dig Toyota Camry. After our recent performances with him, we’re all definitely looking forward to Iowa.”
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards tour is a trip out to Iowa Speedway for the running of the Prairie Meadows 200 set for Friday, July 13. The event will be televised live on SPEED beginning at 8:00 p.m. Central. The annual-event at the .875-mile paved oval signifies the beginning of the second-half of the 60th anniversary season for the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA). The team will test at the facility on Thursday, July 5.
Further information including driver opportunities with Win-Tron Racing is available by visiting win-tronracing.com or contacting Nate Thiesse at 612.306.1641
Learn about Call 811 Before You Dig and what it can do for you by connecting to call811.com.
For more on Mason Mingus, please visit MasonMingusRacing.com.
About Win-Tron Racing:
Located in Lakeville, Minnesota, Win-Tron Racing is the home of one the most potent ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards single-car operations. Owned by former racers Kevin Cywinski and Nate Thiesse, the team since has acquired the assets of County Joe Racing has become a favorable fixture on the circuit. Since Win-Tron Racing’s inception in 2007, the team has hosted a variety of drivers including leading drivers James Buescher, Blake Bjorklund, Justin Marks and Matt Merrell to their first career ARCA victories. In 2012, the team will begin its sixth year of competition with current drivers Chris Windom, Mason Mingus and Aleks Gregory.