TOLEDO, OH - Mobile Int’l Speedway is already buzzing with activity, well ahead of the fourth annual ARCA Mobile 200 coming Saturday, March 14.
It started Wednesday of this week when ARCA Mobile 200 promoter Tommy Praytor held a press conference to promote the race.
“We had two-time Alabama national champion quarterback AJ McCarron, the ARCA champion (Mason Mitchell) and ARCA’s top rookie (Austin Wayne Self) in the same room,” Praytor said. “Now that’s some serious star power. AJ’s going to be our Grand Marshal for the race, so we’re obviously very excited about that.”
At the same time, two ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards teams were testing on the historic half-mile short track in preparation for the race. Those two teams were Mason Mitchell Motorsports (MMM) with drivers Mason Mitchell and Austin Wayne Self, and Max Force Racing with local driver Thomas “Moose” Praytor.
MMM was testing the new ARCA Composite Body ahead of the race, which the team plans to debut with Self in the seat.
“We had no issues with the new composite body,” Mitchell said. “Everything went really smooth. The car looks really nice on the track.”
While Self will be debuting the new body at Mobile, Mitchell, who announced earlier in the week that he would also be competing at Mobile, said that he would not be racing the composite body when he returns for the race.
“Eventually we’ll get there with the new body, but, right now, we’ve got the one ready for Austin. The main thing was to see how the new car will react to track conditions. The car was very consistent…no issues at all.
“But like all tests, we found some things we want to improve on…it’s no different than anywhere else we test at. That’s really what these tests are all about. We were trying some new set-up packages on the car that didn’t respond the way we had hoped, so we’ll take it back to the shop and work on some things to make it better.
“Aero-wise I didn’t notice any difference with the new car. You might on a bigger track, but I didn’t really notice anything different at Mobile. It feels like there’s a lot more room in the new composite car. It’s taller under the body and has a different feel that way, but, aero-wise, it was the same for me.
“Going back to the shop, based on what we learned in the test, will help a lot too.”
Event promoter Praytor has also set aside Saturday, March 7 as an open test opportunity ahead of the race. The test will be administered by Mobile Int’l Speedway staff and will be from 9:00 to 5:00. Summerland, British Columbia’s Sarah Cornett-Ching, who made her ARCA Racing Series debut at Daytona, says she’ll be testing Saturday.
ARCA raceweek schedule of events at Mobile; starts with Fan Fest at USS Alabama
The ARCA Mobile 200 gets underway with the ARCA Fan Fest at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile Thursday, March 12. The USS Alabama Fan Fest is from 4:00-6:00 p.m. and features an ARCA driver autograph session from 5:00-6:00. From there, haulers will cast off from the Battleship in a hauler parade to Mobile Int’l Speedway to prepare for Friday's on-track activity. The hauler parade will mark the beginning of the Causeway Seafood Jubilee as ARCA fans, teams, and drivers enjoy the great seafood offered by restaurants on the Causeway.
The Home Mortgage of America Green Flag Party will follow Thursday night with headliner Holli Mosley of Mobile. The venue has been changed to Holiday Inn Tillman’s Corner, the host hotel for the ARCA Mobile 200. Fans can expect to hear from Ronnie Bowman and fellow hit maker Mark Collie on Thursday night also. Bowman has written No. 1 songs for country music stars like Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney and Lee Ann Womack.
New Green Flag Corporate Partners, Mobile Shoe Hospital, Intertek and Shoreline Communication joined the ARCA Mobile 200 family.
It was also announced that a partnership between Venturini Motorsports and So Good Entertainment will bring songwriter Bowman to sing the National Anthem before the race at 2 p.m. Saturday.
On-track activities begin Friday with the first practice session from 2:30-3:15 p.m., followed by the second and final practice session from 4:15-5:00. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell will take place at 7:00 Friday night. Raceday, Saturday, March 14 features an on-track autograph session from 12 noon-1:00 with driver introductions following at 1:30. The ARCA Mobile 200 is set to get the green flag at 2:00.
For ticket information, go to ARCAMobile200.com or call 251-343-2929.