Mingus Excited for Salem HomecomingZach Hiser
Special from Speed51.com – Sunday’s JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour race at Salem Speedway will be a homecoming of sorts for Mason Mingus. The 2019 All American 400 winner is returning to a track that helped him get his racing career started as a teenager, and where he earned his first win in a Late Model.
While he has lived in the Nashville area most of his life, Mingus is originally from Louisville, Kentucky. As a 14 year old in 2010, he went to victory lane at the big half-mile with the former Ken-Ten Pro Late Model Series. He’s also had strong runs with the ARCA Racing Series at Salem, with a best finish of sixth in September 2012.
He looked back on that Pro Late Model win 11 years ago and the meaning it has taken on over the years.
“We were running Pro Late Models in what was at the time the Kentucky-Tennessee Pro Late Model Series. I was 14, maybe. We ended up getting the win. That was the home track for my car owner at the time, they raced there for years when they ran weekly there,” Mingus told Speed51.
We’ve got a bunch of family up in Louisville, KY, that’s where I’m originally from. It was like our home track at the time, anytime we go up there we have a bunch of family members out there. To get that win early in my career, and we’ve had some good ARCA runs there in the past. Hopefully we can capitalize on that this weekend.
It has been since 2017 when Mingus last competed at Salem with ARCA, and it’s been even longer since he was there in a Pro Late Model. That last race came back in 2014, when he led early before getting taken out in a crash.
After four years away from the Southern Indiana facility, he is excited for his return on Sunday.
“I haven’t been there in a while but I’m definitely excited about it. It’s probably my all-time favorite racetrack, we’ve had a lot of good runs there and I got one of my first Late Model wins there. It’s definitely a fun place, it’s definitely a different place than everywhere else we run so I’m excited to get back.”
He will be behind the wheel of the Mike Alexander-owned No. 84 for Sunday’s 100-lapper. The two joined forces for select Pro Late Model races at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway last season and are making a run at the Nashville title in 2021.
With both driver and owner on the same page at the racetrack, it has been a strong partnership to this point.
I’ve known Mike for a long time. I’ve raced with him a couple times back in high school at the Fairgrounds, I think we’ve ran second with him in the All American 400 one year. We’re family friends, my dad’s been good friends with him for years now. I hadn’t been doing a lot of racing lately and he called and said he’d been working on the car and testing it himself down in Pensacola and Nashville. Last year I jumped in it for a couple races and we ran really well.
“We led most of the last race we ran at Nashville but got caught up in a restart accident at the end. He’s really a great guy to work with and very knowledgeable. We both have the same goals, we’re out here just to enjoy it. We’re not at the point to where this is our careers or anything but we want to have fun with it, but for both of us running competitively every week and trying to win is fun.”
While similar to high-banked half-mile tracks like Nashville and Winchester Speedway, Salem throws a completely different challenge to racers. That, Mingus says, is what makes the track one of his favorites.
“It’s very old and rough. You go to places like Winchester where you run the top of the racetrack but at Salem, you run the top of the racetrack in three and four and the bottom in one and two. It gets tough to set up a race car and it gets racey late in the race because the cars fade away. It’s one of the roughest racetrack I’ve been to, but it makes for fun racing.”
Sunday’s Midwest 250 at Salem Speedway will be broadcasted live on Speed51.TV, featuring the ARCA/CRA Super Series, JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour and CRA Street Stocks/Great American Stocks. Click here to subscribe today.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo