Daytona Beach, FL - After engineering all three of his Mason Mitchell Motorsports (MMM) 98 cars into first, second and third on the chart in Saturday's open test at Daytona Int'l Speedway, Mason Mitchell took his first turn at the wheel during the final hours of testing Sunday afternoon and went right to the top of the leader board.
Mitchell, the 2014 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards national champion driver and owner, not only took it to the top, the W. Des Moines, Iowa driver posted the fastest speed overall during the annual two-day ARCA test at the "World Center of Racing".
"All three Mitchell Motorsports cars were fast this weekend," Mitchell said. "We made the decision to bring three cars only a week ago, so all of the long hours by the crew paid off."
Mitchell got some drafting help from Empire Racing to post the top speed of the weekend at 189.809 mph. That equates to 47.416 seconds around the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
"We were working as a team to get a fast lap, and we got a good run on the (Empire Racing) pack ahead of us, and that was the difference. It was pretty cool."
Mitchell had all three of his rookie drivers - Gus Dean (189.761 mph), Spencer Boyd (189.693 mph) and Noah Gragson (189.677 mph) - on top Saturday for a MMM sweep. Dean's top speed set on Saturday was good enough for second fastest overall.
"Gus (Dean) is signed to drive when we come back to Daytona," Mitchell added. "I'm still working on sponsorship to put enough together to run here next month."
After sweeping the top of the leader board in Saturday's test, the MMM team, with a fleet of Chevrolets, made the sweep even bigger Sunday when Mitchell added his name at the top, giving MMM the top four positions overall.
"This is my first time drafting here and it was exciting," Lupton said.
"We timed it just right to get a draft on those 98 cars, and with Brett's (Holmes) help we were the fastest car for most of the day (Sunday). We practiced as a team. Every time we went out, the 18 (Holmes) came out with me. For the race, a pack of cars running up top may have enough momentum to make it work; it's going to be a chess game.
"The Empire crew worked hard all weekend to make us fast. I can't thank them enough."
With Lupton leading the team colors on the charts at 189.502 mph, Empire Racing swept positions fifth through eighth on the overall board with Lupton, rookie Brett Holmes (189.394 mph), Lupton again in another Empire Ford (189.247 mph), and veteran/former Daytona polesitter Sean Corr (189.243 mph). Like Lupton, Holmes was learning the draft.
"The draft was cool," Holmes said. "This was my first time in it, and the air and g-forces were an experience. We were working together as a team trying to be fast.
"I wish the 48 car had not had mechanical issues yesterday...we may have ended up as the fastest team if we could have had three cars in our draft against the Mitchell cars."
ARCA veteran Tom Hessert, who did not participate in Sunday's test, was ninth fastest overall in the Venturini Motorsports Toyota at 188.957 mph.
Jeff Myers, Jr. turned a lot of heads over the weekend, posting the 10th fastest speed overall at 188.881 mph in a Lira Motorsports Ford in his first superspeedway attempt. Myers, from Lambertville, Mich., is the 2015 ARCA Truck Series champion.
The open test was originally scheduled for Friday and Saturday, but Friday was a complete wash-out so Sunday was added to accommodate the two-day test. Saturday's test session was delayed briefly, but by fog. Sunday also had a delay as a result of overnight rain showers and a brief mid-morning shower.
Daytona Int'l Speedway
Overall Open Test Results, (1-16/17-2016)
|1||98d||Mason Mitchell/W. Des Moines IA||Chevy||47.416||189.809|
|2||98b||Gus Dean/Bluffton SC||Chevy||47.428||189.761|
|3||98a||Spencer Boyd/Concord NC||Chevy||47.445||189.693|
|4||98||Noah Gragson/Las Vegas NV||Ford||47.449||189.677|
|5||82x||Dylan Lupton/Charlotte NC||Ford||47.493||189.502|
|6||18||Brett Holmes/Munford AL||Ford||47.520||189.394|
|7||48a||Dylan Lupton/Charlotte NC||Ford||47.557||189.247|
|8||48||Sean Corr/Goshen NY||Ford||47.558||189.243|
|9||25||Tom Hessert/Cherry Hill NJ||Toyota||47.630||188.957|
|10||59||Jeff Myers, Jr./Lambertville MI||Ford||47.649||188.881|
|11||32a||Shane Lee/Newton NC||Toyota||47.716||188.616|
|12||58||Clayton Weatherman/Wentzville MO||Ford||47.748||188.490|
|13||38a||Jairo Avila/Alhambra CA||Ford||47.755||188.462|
|14||22a||Matt Wallace/Concord NC||Dodge||47.786||188.340|
|15||77||Chase Briscoe/Mitchell IN||Dodge||47.816||188.222|
|16||82||Dylan Martin/Lakeland FL||Ford||47.831||188.162|
|17||66||Mark Thompson/Cartersville GA||Toyota||47.844||188.111|
|18||05||John Wes Townley/Watkinsville GA||Chevy||47.860||188.048|
|19||42||Bo LeMastus/Louisville KY||Dodge||47.862||188.041|
|20||55||Willliam Byron Jr./Charlotte NC||Toyota||47.867||188.021|
|21||58a||Kyle Weatherman/Wentzville MO||Ford||47.890||187.931|
|22||38c||Gray Gaulding/Statesville NC||Ford||47.891||187.927|
|23||5a||Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA||Chevy||47.943||187.723|
|24||98c||Zane Smith/Maiden NC||Ford||48.033||187.371|
|25||32c||Austin Wayne Self/Austin TX||Ford||48.073||187.215|
|26||22||Kevin Thomas, Jr./Cullman AL||Dodge||48.091||187.145|
|27||75a||Chuck Walker/Hilton Head SC||Chevy||48.095||187.130|
|28||36||Brandon Lynn/Penn Yan NY||Ford||48.132||186.986|
|29||22||Brady Boswell/Watkinsville GA||Dodge||48.141||186.951|
|30||59a||Dylan Cappello/Peoria AZ||Ford||48.165||186.858|
|31||9||Thomas Praytor/Mobile AL||Ford||48.198||186.730|
|32||43||John Ferrier/Middletown NY||Chevy||48.259||186.494|
|33||77||Brady Boswell/Watkinsville GA||Dodge||48.263||186.478|
|34||52c||Matt Kurzejewski/Mansfield PA||Toyota||48.285||186.393|
|35||59b||Tyler Speer/Woodstock GA||Ford||48.337||186.193|
|36||2||Sarah Cornett-Ching/Summerland BC||Ford||48.362||186.097|
|37||59c||Devin O'Connell/Madison CT||Ford||48.389||185.993|
|38||75||Benny Chastain/Tallahassee FL||Chevy||48.426||185.851|
|39||57a||Andy Seuss/Salisbury NC||Chevy||48.449||185.762|
|40||1||Willie Mullins/Fredericksburg VA||Ford||48.450||185.759|
|41||32b||Codie Rohrbaugh/Petersburg WV||Ford||48.458||185.728|
|42||83||Derrick Lancaster/Christiansburg VA||Chevy||48.501||185.563|
|43||57||Bryan Dauzat/Concord NC||Chevy||48.595||185.204|
|44||54||Cole Custer/Ladera Ranch CA||Toyota||48.604||185.170|
|45||68a||Austin Nason/Roscoe IL||Ford||48.606||185.162|
|46||38b||Steve Kemp/Justin TX||Ford||48.612||185.139|
|47||66a||Dalton Sargeant/Boca Raton FL||Toyota||48.665||184.938|
|48||6||Josh Williams/Port Charlotte FL||Chevy||48.750||184.615|
|49||69||Nick Higdon/Big Clifty KY||Ford||48.890||184.087|
|50||42z||Josh Reeves/Bassett VA||Dodge||48.980||183.748|
|51||68||Grant Quinlan/Harrison MI||Ford||48.991||183.707|
|52||5||Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA||Chevy||49.279||182.634|
|53||62||CJ McLaughlin/Bellingham MA||Dodge||49.298||182.563|
|54||3||Steve Fox/Hazleton PA||Ford||49.546||181.649|
|55||58b||Justin Lloyd/Raleigh NC||Ford||49.578||181.532|
|56||62z||Scott Edwards/Orlando FL||Dodge||49.578||181.532|
|57||52a||Matt Kurzejewski/Mansfield PA||Chevy||49.598||181.459|
|58||62d||Kevin Rutherford/Flower Mound TX||Dodge||49.624||181.364|
|59||71||Gene Paul/Tarpon Springs FL||Dodge||49.698||181.094|
|60||1||J.J. Pack/Bealeton VA||Ford||49.731||180.974|
|61||49||Brad Smith/Shelby Township MI||Ford||50.090||179.677|
|62||62||Kyle Lockrow/LaPlate MD||Dodge||50.278||179.005|
|63||5b||Steve Harvilla III/Broomall PA||Chevy||50.413||178.525|
|64||62||Michael Haubrich/Jacksonville NC||Dodge||50.461||178.356|
|65||1c||Ray Ciccarelli/Ellicott City MD||Ford||50.748||177.347|
|66||0||Tim Viens/Daytona Beach FL||Chevy||50.762||177.298|
|67||0||Corey Howard/Fort White FL||Chevy||51.770||173.846|
|68||0a||Mike Senica/Doylestown PA||Chevy||55.727||161.502|
Story By: ARCA Racing Series PR
Photo Credit: ARCA Racing Series PR