Mason Mitchell Retains Points Lead After Second-Place Springfield Run

Mason Mitchell Retains Points Lead After Second-Place Springfield Run

by August 19, 2014 0 comments

Photo credit: Kyle Pokrefky

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — With an exciting late-race charge, Mason Mitchell (Mason Mitchell Motorsports) was able to maintain his points lead over Grant Enfinger (GMS Racing) by finishing second in the 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on Sunday.

Mitchell led early in the 100-mile race, leading the first 31 laps from the first position (qualifying was cancelled due to time constraints) before getting shuffled slightly back in the field during yellow flag pit stops. Enfinger would jump Mitchell in the race standings and would hold the lead from Lap 62 to Lap 88 before being passed by eventual winner Kevin Swindell (Venturini Motorsports.) As the driver of the No. 90 Casite-Motor Honey-Allegiant Travel Chevrolet fought for the lead with Swindell, Mitchell was stuck way back towards the rear end of the top-10 – but, he wouldn’t stay there for long.

The driver of the No. 98 Musselman’s-Wildlife Foundation of Florida-TTS Ford would have a second wind of sorts as he would begin to power his way towards the front of the field. As the laps continued to click off, Mitchell would find himself right on the bumper of Enfinger – whose car was beginning to fade. The points leader entering the 100-lap event would work his way around his closest rival for the drivers’ championship and would then proceed to set his sights on Swindell. Ultimately, Mitchell would have nothing for the sprint car champion, but he would continue to drive away from the No. 90 car to cross the finish line safely in second.

This year’s Chicagoland winner was able to improve on his Springfield performance from 2013 – a run that provided him with a seventh-place result. In a post-race interview, Mitchell talked about the strategy and the lessons he learned from last year’s race  that went into Sunday’s runner-up finish.

“We came in there and pitted for tires along with the 15, 25, and a couple of other cars,” Mitchell said. “Most of them stayed out. I learned from last year that we didn’t want to get beat on tires this year – not just because it’s got more rubber, it’s because the more laps on your tires the hotter they get and they go away faster.”

Mitchell also provided an insight into the final push towards to the front that would ultimately give the 20-year-old from West Des Moines, Iowa the points lead exiting his third career dirt race in the ARCA Racing Series.

“As soon as the green flag dropped, we didn’t take off as good as everybody else did,” Mitchell continued. “We just came to life there and kept on digging to find some more grip. We made a huge charge, Kevin and I had a decent battle there where we were catching him a little bit. We just ran out of time and we ran out of a little bit of room over there, but it’s all good, we’ll take a good second-place run.”

While Mitchell would lead one for a total of 31 laps in the 100, Enfinger would lead twice for a total of 33 laps – giving him the bonus points for the most laps led. With Mitchell and Enfinger running two-and-three in the final running order, the points gap back to Enfinger would remain unchanged and remains at 25 points heading into Sunday’s Herr’s Live Life with Flavor 200 at the Madison International Speedway.

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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