Mark Mason will be the first to tell you that he is a construction worker by day and a racer on the weekend.
On Saturday, June 21st, the weekend warrior went from celebrating his second feature win in a row for the Late Model division at Angola Motor Speedway in Fremont, Indiana to shedding tears over the complete loss of everything he owned in racing in the same night.
While on his way home to Fort Wayne, Indiana on I-69, Mason looked out of his side view mirror like he normally does to check on his racing trailer. At that time he noticed what he thought was water flying off his trailer tires. He quickly came to a stop and that’s when it became evident there was a more serious issue.
“I opened up the door and the crew cabinet in my trailer was engulfed in flames,” Mason recalled. “I tried to release the winch to get the car out of the hauler and I couldn’t get in the side door to that.”
According to Mason, the cause of the fire appears to be electrical. It started near the fuse box which was located in the crew cabinet area of the trailer. Fortunately, nobody was injured in the fire.
When Mason was asked if everything he had for his racing program was in the hauler, his emotions got the best of him.
“Everything is gone.” Mason said while holding back the tears.
Some of those items include his two driving suits, helmet, shoes, shocks, toolbox, extra A-Frames, and his winning race car, a 2012 Port City Chassis and his Krieger Racing Engine engine.
“That car had a special story behind it,” Mason explained. “On July 11, 2013, Blaine Miller and his grandson, Jeff Shelmadine, were killed on I-69 while servicing a disabled vehicle. In fact, it was only a couple of miles away from where the fire took place (Saturday night). This was Jeff’s car. The number on my side has Blaine and Jeff’s picture on it and Jeff’s name was on top of the car.”
On his Facebook page, Mason always makes sure that he tags Pam Shelmadine, Jeff’s mother, in all of the car photos.
Mason said he has no insurance, which is making this tough emotionally for him. He also noted that on Sunday, he already had to charge his cell phone three times from the multitude of calls and offers to help.
“I already got a couple of offers (from people) to drive their car next week at Angola,” Mason said. “We have a race next week at Angola, then we have a couple of weeks off. So this will help us try to get going again.”
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