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After Thrilling Start Reid Wilson Looks
Ahead To Hickory Motor Speedway
HICKORY, North Carolina (April 4, 2014) - - An impressive third place outing for X-1R Pro Cup Series sophomore driver Reid Wilson (@reidwilson66) in the season-opening event at Southern National Motorsports Park (SNMP) two weeks ago leaves more to be desired, as the teenage rookie sensation heads to Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway for Saturday night's running of the Catawba Valley 250.
Aboard his No. 66 Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits Chevrolet, the 17-year old and his Reid Wilson Racing (RWR) team adjusted their automobile throughout practice to net a sixth place qualifying run. From the drop of the green flag, Wilson cautiously worked his way through the field and found himself contending for the win, but as the second-year driver pointed out, he just didn't quite have enough to power past eventual winner Caleb Holman and second-place finisher Gus Dean, but did deliver his fourth career top-five in 11 races.
The effort was also a career best and his first podium in competition. Previously, the RWR team guided their pilot to a personal-best finish of fifth on three different occasions.
"Our No. 66 Bojangles' Chevrolet handled great all weekend in the practices and the race," said Wilson, a native of Huntersville, North Carolina. "Honestly, I think it came down to who had the most experience. Caleb (Holman) has a lot more races compared to my 11 Pro Cup, so I definitely expected him to be up on the wheel for the second half race. We might have been a little too conservative and my inexperience to run consistently fast lap times were our hindrance, but I learned a ton that will help us immensely moving forward.
"A third place finish is a great way for us to come out of the box and gives us the momentum to carry to Hickory."
Round two of the season this weekend takes the team back to the tight short track of Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway, where last year Wilson burst onto the X-1R Pro Cup Series scene in just his second race by claiming the pole. In doing so, the former INEX Legends car driver became the second-youngest pole sitter in Pro Cup Series history behind NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitor Joey Logano.
While mechanical troubles kept Wilson from seeing the checkered flag and a dejecting 14th place finish, he returns to the track this weekend not only dubbed as a pre-race favorite, but also eyeing some self-induced redemption.
"I like to consider Hickory my home track," offered Wilson, who turns 18 next month. "I grew up racing there. I know the track and I know how to race on it. No doubt the opportunity to race there twice last year with a Pro Cup car will be an added benefit this weekend.
"The team is really fired up for this weekend and all of us couldn't be more excited about what we hope is to come," he mentioned. "We all know the drill and what our jobs are, so I think we can focus on making our No. 66 Bojangles' Chevrolet go fast. Hickory is also the perfect place where we can show that speed. We feel like this could be our weekend to notch a win, anything less would obviously be a disappointment."
Even with the 2014 season just lifting off, Wilson and his team have already glared some early attention to points, knowing that each finish will be crucial towards their main goal of becoming series champion.
"We've made the early commitment that we're going to try and race the whole year, so even if it's not our day (to win), we're going to do whatever we can to finish as high as possible, because we're focused on the championship, which is ultimately the big picture," explained Wilson. "It would be a big deal for our guys and of course our sponsors. Without them, we would be sitting on the sidelines. If we can't find ourselves in the hunt on Saturday night for the win, we'll be after a top-five (finish) to keep our momentum chugging."
In addition to Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits, Cheerwine will serve as an associate marketing partner on the No. 66 entry. Veteran short track specialist Mike Herman Sr. will serve as the crew chief for the racer, who in 2012 was dubbed as one of "NASCAR's future prospects to watch" by Motorsports Analytics.
Wilson tweets too. Follow him @reidwilson66.
NAME: Rita Wilson
Mason Mingus Anxiously Awaits Martinsville Speedway DebutMARTINSVILLE, Virginia (March 26, 2014) - - Sunoco Rookie of the Year contestant Mason Mingus' (@Mason_Mingus) lifelong dream of competing at the historic Martinsville (Va.) Speedway will come to fruition, as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) resumes action in Saturday's running of the Kroger 250.Mingus, driver of the No. 35 Call 811 Before You Dig Toyota Tundra, is anxious for his arrival at the 0.526-mile paved oval for a number of reasons, but most importantly, the race presents an ample opportunity to put himself and his Mooresville, North Carolina-based Win-Tron Racing team back on track.In the season-opening NCWTS race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway last month, Mingus and his team had a strong run violently halted after being involved in a Lap 73 incident, while running in the top-10. While disappointed with a 28th-place finish, the team led by veteran crew chief Mark Rette, was encouraged by the performance.To enhance their chances for a noteworthy performance this weekend at Martinsville, the team recently partook in a private test session, where Mingus was able to spend several hours learning the tight paperclip-like short track, but also continue to learn the characteristics of a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series vehicle, as he prepares to make just his fifth career start on March 29."I'm really looking forward to Martinsville, as it has been near the top of my list of tracks I have wanted to race at for years and now I can't wait for the chance to actually make that happen," said 19-year old Mingus. "I gained a lot of confidence during the test and we made a lot of changes to my No. 35 Call 811 Before You Dig Toyota Tundra, so I think we have a good truck to take back there this weekend."Martinsville is a tough place to drive, so we'll have to fine-tune our truck after practice on Friday. Qualifying up front will be important, as track position seems critical for success there. I'm still learning these trucks and of course, the track, but I'm hoping that my short track skills will come into play and help compensate."While the Brentwood, Tennessee native quickly understands the fundamentals of short track racing, the key component to survival at Martinsville is brakes and Mingus knows he'll have to not only use patience, but brake conservation if he has any hopes of recording his first top-10 finish."Braking is the biggest obstacle at Martinsville and as a short track racer, I've always grown up being told to be easy on the brakes, especially in heavier cars like an ARCA car or a truck. But at Martinsville, you have to be very aggressive under braking, it's such a tough race track, because we carry so much speed down the straightaway and then to almost stop in the corners, you have to keep telling yourself to conserve, conserve, conserve.Once I had a better understanding on finding my braking points during the test, I was able to see the brake temperatures when I came off the track improve and we started working on mechanical adjustments. Without a doubt, testing will be the contributor to our (hopeful) success. We're shooting for a top-10 finish. It will be tough, but we're a relentless team, who wants to show that we're going to be around contending all year."Win-Tron Racing co-truck owner Nate Thiesse offered his thoughts on the impending round two event."After a brief break, we're ready to get back after it this weekend in Martinsville. I'm proud of the hard work from Mason, Mark (Rette, crew chief) and the rest of the Win-Tron Racing team for getting our No. 35 Call 811 Before You Dig Toyota Tundra ready for Saturday's race. We felt like the test was extremely productive and will be a benefit to us bringing home a positive finish."Win-Tron Racing will utilize chassis No. 047 this weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. It is a new truck in the fleet and the same piece that the Win-Tron Racing development driver tested with last week.Entering Martinsville, Mingus sits 24th in the championship standings, 15 markers from 10th place held by Matt Crafton. Mingus sits third in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, two points behind current leader Tyler Reddick.The Kroger 250 is the second of 22 races on the 2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 on Saturday, March 29 beginning at 2:00 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to drop shortly after 2:30 p.m.Learn about Call 811 Before You Dig and what it can do for you by connecting to call811.com.For more on Mason Mingus, please visit MasonMingusRacing.com.Follow Win-Tron Racing on Twitter @WinTronRacing.Mingus tweets too. Follow him on Twitter @Mason_Mingus.About Win-Tron Racing:Located in Mooresville, North Carolina, Win-Tron Racing (Win-TronRacing.com / @WinTronRacing) is the home of one the most potent ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards single-car operations. Owned by former racers Kevin Cywinski and Nate Thiesse, the team since has acquired the assets of County Joe Racing, becoming a favorable fixture on the circuit. Since Win-Tron Racing's inception in 2007, the team has hosted a variety of drivers including leading drivers James Buescher, Blake Bjorklund, Justin Marks, Matt Merrell and Brandon McReynolds to their first career ARCA victories. In 2014, the team will begin its eighth year of competition with a full-time presence in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.PHOTO CAPTION: Mason Mingus, driver of the No. 35 Call 811 Before You Dig Toyota Tundra in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) for Win-Tron Racing.###CONTACT:NAME: Chris Knight (@Knighter01)
Akinori Ogata Opens K&N Pro Series East Season
At Bristol Motor Speedway
BRISTOL, Tennessee (March 13, 2014) - - Akinori Ogata (@AkinoriOgata) will open up his 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) season by attempting to qualify for Saturday's PittLite 125 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
Ogata, 40, is optimistic about making his NASCAR debut at the "World's Fastest Half-Mile", but the Kanagawa, Japan native is leaning on organizational changes he's made during the off-season to pay off in his first race of a limited K&N Pro Series East schedule this season.
"We've worked extremely hard to get to Bristol, so I'm hoping for a good result," said Ogata, who resides in Troutman, North Carolina. "Without hesitation, Bristol will be one of the biggest challenges of my career, but I believe with hard work and utilizing the practices to our advantage, our chances look good for Saturday."
ENEOS motor oil will return as the primary marketing partner of Ogata's No. 56 Toyota Camry this weekend. ENEOS Motor Oil provides a line of engine and transmission fluid with both performance eco-friendliness in mind. With their racing heritage and OE pedigree, ENEOS motor oil is redefining the meaning of synthetics.
To assist in his official launch of Akinori Performance, the former NASCAR Whelen All-American Series competitor has turned to Tracy Norman to lead his team's efforts.
"I've been very grateful to have a lot of support in my transition to NASCAR, but with Tracy's leadership, guidance and confidence in me, I feel like he has guided this team in the right direction of having a respectable in our No. 56 run."
In addition to ENEOS, WPC, WINMAX and WRD will serve as associate marketing partners for the third race of the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season.
Ogata has nine career NKNPSE starts to his credit. He made his debut in 2012 at Gresham (Ga.) Motorsports Park, the site of his career-best finish of 15th after starting 26th. He also produced a 16th-place effort at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) last year.
The PittLite 125 is set for Saturday, March 15 from the "World's Fastest Half Mile." The 125-lap feature will commence shortly after 4:45 p.m. upon the conclusion of the NASCAR Nationwide Series' Drive To Stop Diabetes 300. The race will be tape-delayed on FOX Sports 1 with an air date of Saturday, March 22 at 11:30 a.m. (Eastern).
For more on Akinori Ogata, please visit AkinoriOgata.com.
Ogata tweets too, follow him @AkinoriOgata.
PHOTO CAPTION: Akinori Ogata, driver of the No. 56 ENEOS Toyota Camry in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKPSE) competition for Akinori Performance. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt for Getty Images).