The history of Gulf Coast short track racing runs deep in the blood of the Mason family. The tradition started with J.C. Mason decades ago, who passed it on to his son Okie, who recently wrapped up six championships in 2014 alone.
Fifty-two-year-old Okie Mason is carrying on the family’s Gulf Coast racing tradition that started with his father, who set up cars for several drivers including Snowball Derby Champions Donnie Allison and Dickie Davis . All this came while Okie Mason was a boy behind the grandstands playing in the dirt with boyhood friends-turned-fellow racers Eddie Mercer and Scott Carlson.
“Late Models and Super Modifieds were what they raced back in those days,” said Mason. “My dad had a lot of good drivers race for him over the years and he had a lot of success with those drivers.”
Mercer and Carlson both went on to win Blizzard Series Championship at Five Flags in the Super Late Models and Mercer won the 2005 Snowball Derby.
Last week Mason wrote his name in the Five Flags Speedway record books after he captured his first track championship at oval on Pine Forest Road which was followed shortly by a second just a few hours later.
“I’m kind of like a wine I guess,” Mason said. “I’m getting better with time.”
Mason scored championships in the Pro Trucks and Modified divisions at both five Flags and Mobile International Speedway (AL) as well as the Gulf Coast Championship for both divisions this season. The Gulf Coast Championship is a points system for those that race at both race tracks.
That’s a total six championships for the Eight Mile, Alabama driver.
“I don’t know who can say they got six in one year,” said Mason. “This is just unbelievable.”
Out of all the success he’s had in 2014, it’s the success at Five Flags that has Mason so excited. Five Flags is a prestigious race track. Winning at the home of the Snowball Derby is no easy task.
“Here you have to drive the car,” said Mason of Five Flags. “It means so much when you win one because you know you had to work. And you know the name of Pensacola and Five Flags and now you’re associated with winning the championship… two championships, they can’t take that away. And that’s probably my best feeling right there.”
When it comes to the Snowball Derby in December, Okie Mason will be there. He won the Modified race there a season ago.
“To win the championship at Five Flags means a lot,” said Mason. “The only thing better are the ones that say Snowball on them. I’ve got one right now.”
– By Rob Blount and Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com. Photo credit: Speed51.com