Mason Mitchell heard many questions following Saturday’s Ansell ActivArmr 150. Some questions came from media members covering the ARCA Racing Series event at Chicagoland Speedway. Others were inquiries from eager fans looking for an autograph.
One question Mitchell did not hear – and will never hear again – was, “When will you win your first ARCA race?”
That’s because Mitchell, using a charge past Justin Boston with five laps remaining, scored his first ARCA win at Chicago. After six runner-up finishes in his career, Mitchell was finally victorious.
“It feels so good, holy cow,” said Mitchell, 20, of West Des Moines, Iowa. “We really weren’t that good yesterday (in practice). We took a swing at it, Matt Weber and all the guys, and I can’t put it into words. We worked so hard for this, finished second so many times. I was trying so hard and finally did it.”
The win was also the culmination of nearly three seasons of working for a first victory by he and his family team.
“I was trying to stay kind of calm,” said Russ Mitchell, Mason’s father. “I knew we had a good car on the timing, I just wanted to be sure we could get around the 25. All these other races, we’ve been so close, I didn’t want to celebrate until he took the checkered. I just wanted to be sure we had this one nailed. He’s worked real hard. I think we’ve got the monkey off our back now and we can just get more of them.”
Boston, who took the lead on lap 73 from early dominator Spencer Gallagher, wasn’t able to hold off what he called Mitchell’s “perfect” run to the checkered flag.
“Mason just drove a perfect 10 laps,” said Boston, who finished second. “I’ve got to hand it to him. He drove a heck of a 10 laps and our car was a little too tight at the end and that was the difference between winning and standing (in second).”
Spencer Gallagher started on the outside pole and pulled away from John Wes Townley early to dominate the first 72 laps. After losing the lead, Gallagher’s No. 23 was never as good as it was early on as he soldiered home with a sixth-place finish.
“Seventy is about 30 laps short of where I would’ve been happy,” said Gallagher. “We were faster than all Hell in those first 70 laps of the race. The track started going away from us in a hurry. We started out just unbelievably fast and by the end of that run she was just evil loose.”
Matt Tifft scored his first ARCA speedway top-five finish with third.
“It’s our first mile-and-a-half race of the year, so definitely a huge step for moving forward and getting used to these types of tracks,” said Tifft.
Will Kimmel, who battled transmission issues throughout the race, battled back for a fourth-place finish. Rookie Cody Coughlin scored his first ARCA top-five by finishing fifth.
The ARCA Racing Series is back in action on Friday, July 25 with at Lucas Oil Raceway Park near Indianapolis, Indiana.
– By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director. Twitter: @MattKentfield. Featured photo credit: Mason Mitchell Motorsports