The two words you keep hearing over and over from Mark Mason is “Thank you!”
Just a few weeks ago, Mason won his second Late Model feature in a row at Angola Motorsport Speedway in Fremont, Indiana. On the way home, his hauler caught on fire, due to a suspected electrical issue, while he was driving down I-69 towards Fort Wayne. He lost everything that he had in racing.
Speed51.com contacted Mason and shared his story. Through social media the story spread throughout the short track community reaching out to nearly more than 150,000 people (through Facebook, Twitter and the site itself).
The racing community just didn’t read his story but they reacted. Now, Mason is on target to be back at Angola’s next event on Saturday, July 19th with a brand new racecar.
“I just can’t believe it,” Mason said. “It is just amazing how the short track community came through to help. This community is like one giant family and the offers and support have been just incredible.
“When the story went out, I started getting calls and messages from part manufacturers, fans and many others in the racing community offering to help,” Mason recalled. “We lost about $80,000 in that fire and now I am about to get off the phone and go and hang the body on my new car.”
Many companies either offered parts at a discounted rate or at no cost to Mason and his team.
Some of those companies include: Fluidyne (new radiator), Port City Race Cars (new chassis along with a contact to buy additional parts off of a car), saferacer.com (new three layer driver suit & HANS device), Schoenfeld Headers (new headers), Impact (helmet & belts), Racing Electronics (wiring harness and push-to-talk button for radio communication), Sweet Manufacturing (rebuilt steering rack), Driven Steering Wheels (new steering wheel), and ARbodies (new body package).
Plus he has also received many donations from fans and race teams like BK Racing. That donation came anonymously so Mason isn’t sure if that is Brad Keselowski’s team or another racing team with the same name.
Last Saturday night at Angola Motorsport Speedway, they did a 50/50 raffle for Mason and raised more than $1,000 for him.
“We got messages from all over the United States,” Mason said. “Many from the New England area, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, all over.”
Mason also said that Pam Shelmadine, who’s son tragically passed away last year from an accident and whose car Mason was driving before the fire, is providing a hauler for Mason to use as he travels from Fort Wayne to Angola.
He has been busy building the new car and is planning on not missing a week at Angola, where he is currently second in the Late Model point standings. Since his loss, Angola had a rainout and two weeks off for that division which is allowing him to still make a run for the championship.
“We have our new Port City Chassis and have all of the bolt-on parts on the car. I am about to start putting the new ARbodies ABC-body on the car,” Mason said. “All we need to do now is get the new motor in and we are set to go.”
Another thing that Mason said he is getting is insurance on his cars and parts.
“Interesting thing, I had 10 people contact me and said that after reading my story, they went out and got coverage on their race car and parts,” Mason said. “You can never know when that comes in handy and it is worth having the policy.”
With the emotions of losing everything he had to building a new car, Mark Mason will be forever grateful to the short track community.
“I just want to thank Bob Dillner and everyone at Speed51.com for telling my story and how the racing community responded is something I will never forget. I hope I get the opportunity to repay everyone and be the one that can help him or her down the road.
If you would like to offer any help or assistance to Mark Mason, please email him at [email protected].
- Kevin Ramsell, Speed51.com Midwest Editor/Director of Business. Photo Credit: Mark Mason