(INDIANAPOLIS - July 28, 2012) - Mason Mitchell brought home a fifth-place finish at Lucas Oil Raceway, marking his career-best ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards finish on Friday night.
While driving the No. 6 J&S AG Services/Make-A-Wish Chevrolet for Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) in Indianapolis, Ind., Mitchell challenged for the lead all night. After holding off nine-time series' champion Frank Kimmel for well over a quarter of the race, Mitchell was shuffled back in traffic when he spun the tires on the final restart, costing him the win.
Following a successful test session the week prior, the ESR crew unloaded off the trailer with a great car and ran inside the top 10 in both rain-shortened practice sessions. By the end of final practice, Mitchell had recorded the sixth-fastest lap of the session in the No. 6 J&S AG Services/Make-A-Wish Chevrolet. The rookie backed up his practice lap and recorded the second-quickest qualifying time to start on the front row next to NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) regular, Matt Crafton.
Mitchell rolled off second, but fell back a few positions after getting dive-bombed by a few competitors on lap one. As the race progressed, the rookie driver began picking up positions and settled comfortably into the third position.
Mitchell battled with the veteran champion Kimmel for most of the night, and held him off for over 50 laps while they chased down leader Crafton. Crafton eventually had brake issues and ended up in the wall, setting up a dual between Kimmel, Swindell and Mitchell for the last run. Running three-wide, Mitchell was able to put the move to get under Kimmel and Hackenbracht to take the lead on lap 150 and run up front for eight laps. After getting caught up in traffic, Mitchell gave the lead back to Kimmel and second to Hackenbracht for a few laps, but regained second on lap 160.
The final restart of the night was setting up the dash for cash with just a handful of laps left. Mitchell was running second behind Kimmel, but on the restart Mitchell spun the tires losing several positions. Mitchell fought back to cross the finish line in the fifth position.
"I made a mistake on that last restart spinning the tires. I could have got them back if I had more laps, but I wanted it bad," commented Mitchell. "All in all, it was a great run for us and great experience for me. I really want to thank my family and J&S AG Services for giving me this opportunity. I also want to thank my ESR team for giving me a great car; it was awesome all night."
Mitchell will be back in the No. 6 J&S AG Services/Make-A-Wish Chevrolet for ESR at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Mich. on August 11th.