Mason Mitchell Motorsports’ K&N Expansion All a Part of the Planby Kyle Pokrefky August 28, 2015 0 comments
MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Earlier in the week it was announced that 2014 ARCA Racing Series champion Mason Mitchell will expand his homegrown race team, Mason Mitchell Motorsports, into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series in 2016.
Making its debut in the ARCA Racing Series in 2014, Mason Mitchell Motorsports’s plans for next year include running two full-time teams in ARCA and two full-time teams in the K&N Pro Series – the latter being a new venture for the still-growing race operation.
“That was our whole plan – trying to run two and two,” Mitchell told The Fourth Turn on Sunday. “Whether it happens all the way is still in the works still. We’re working on getting our driver lineups all finalized. I still want to do two in the ARCA Series and one in the K&N Series. We’re getting all of that figured out.
“Just from running in that series this year and being on the outside of the ownership side and trying to make everything work and trying to provide a better product to not really having that ceiling on that team. We’re not just locked down doing one thing, we want to be spread out a little bit and I think that’s the next step – going to the K&N Series and then eventually keep on growing from there.”
Mithcell’s motivation for wanting to branch out into the K&N Pro Series is in part due to the fun he had in a start in the Pro Series East’s race at Bowman Gray Stadium this year – a start that resulted in an eighth-place finish with Hattori Racing Enterprises.
“That had a lot to do with it,” Mitchell continued. “Knowing a lot of people in that series from the past in the ARCA stuff or in the racing industry and after getting their feedback – it’s nothing against the ARCA Series, I feel that ARCA provides a lot for drivers and teams. K&N also provides another aspect of it, so you just have to look at everything.”
While he hasn’t locked in driver lineups for either series for next year into place just yet, Mitchell isn’t confirming himself as a full-time driver for his operation in either series just yet, but he does expect to take on partial schedules in either series next year.
He also isn’t sure if his current full-time driver in the ARCA ranks, Austin Wayne Self, will return for the 2016 campaign.
“I don’t know yet to be honest,” Mitchell said about a potential Self return. “We’re pretty focused on finishing a strong season with him. We talked about it with him a lot in the initial plans. They don’t know for sure what they’re doing.
“I know, from the beginning, their main plan was to keep moving up through the ladder – which is totally understandable, and I respect that a lot. I’m not sure how much racing they would do in the ARCA Racing Series next year to be honest.”
As for changes he’ll have to make to his operation next year, Mitchell expects to pick up a few more crew members to assist with the task of maintaining more race teams for 2016.
“You’d have to get a little bit more, but it wouldn’t take much more,” he said. “That’s the cool thing about running multiple series, is that they don’t always run on the same weekends. You can definitely leverage your team and use all of your resources to their full potential.”
When it comes to cars on the other hand, he doesn’t anticipate to use the same cars that he’s put on track in ARCA in his K&N operation next year. Between the two series, the bodies have slight differences while the engines have bit more of a difference between them.
Earlier in the year prior to the 2015 season, ARCA developed an engine with Ilmor for specific use in the series.
“Honestly, probably not,” he concluded. “Just because the next year the rule package will put roof flaps in the composite cars, and in K&N you don’t have to do that. You’ve got to run different rear ends because of the rules and the engine is obviously a little bit different. It’d be a lot of work to switch stuff over.
“There’s going to be stuff meant to do just K&N and stuff meant to do just ARCA. That’s the right way to go about it. This year, you could do it a little bit easier than you could next year. That’s the two series and that’s what their differences are.”
Photo Credit: ARCARacing.com