A Ken Ten Late Model Championship, a series of good runs at the beginning of the season and a series of good finishes toward the end of the season in The CRA Super Series added up to an opportunity to race in Snowball Derby for Mason Mingus.
The Derby, the crown jewel of Super Late Model races, was a goal for Mingus and his Tennessee/Kentucky Dial 811 Before You Dig team at the beginning of the season.
“We really wanted to have an opportunity to go to The Snowball Derby, but we knew we had to show that we were capable of having a shot at making the race,” he said. “At the beginning of the season we ran good at the CRA Super Late Model races we entered, but we seemed to have problems that kept us from finishing well. Fortunately we had Kevin Gardner and Chuck Barnes, Jr. guiding us, so the runs and the finishes got better as the season progressed. Our second place finish during the All American 400 weekend at Nashville Fairgrounds, followed by a fourth in the Winchester 400, gave us the momentum we needed to head to The Snowball.”
Mingus also secured the Ken Ten Pro Late Model Championship in September with a late season surge that included a win at one of the toughest short tracks in American, Salem Speedway.
“Winning at Salem was huge for our team, but to follow that up with the Championship and good finishes at Nashville and Winchester was icing on our season,” Mingus said.
Mingus confirmed that he and his crew are taking a newly built Super Late Model, complete with a new motor, to the Snowball Derby.
“Kevin has been working on the new car for a while and we were considering waiting until next season to bring it out, but we decided to get it finished and take it to the Snowball,” Mingus, who hails from Brentwood, TN., said. “Chuck and I are going to the track early in an attempt to get the car set up. He’s very familiar with Five Flags Speedway and he’ll be helping me speed up my learning curve.”
Mingus said he and his crew had considered running in the Pro Late Model Snowflake 100, a prelude race to the Snowball, but decided that the Derby was a better fit for the team and its sponsors.
“We want to do the best we can for our sponsors and we figure the Snowball is a higher profile race for our sponsors,” he said.
Mingus is a multifaceted athlete who competes on championship caliber football and wrestling teams at his high school, Franklin Road Academy in Nashville, TN.
“We stay busy, but racing is my first choice and something that I intend to pursue,” Mingus said. “I want to be competitive in anything I do, so going to the Snowball will be a challenge, but it’s a challenge that I’m looking forward to.”
While the team is committed to The Snowball, Mingus noted that his team is still actively seeking more sponsorship.
“More marketing partners means more money to get our sponsor’s message to race fans plus it means we can make our car even better,” he commented. “It’s like Smokey Yunick said, ‘Money buys speed, how fast do you want to go?’ We intend to go as fast as we possibly can.”