After a strong performance at New Smyrna Speedway in January, Mason Diaz is heading into the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing with some confidence.
Diaz, 16 from Manassas, Virginia, will be competing in seven Super Late Model races at the half-mile track in Florida. Back in January, he completed at New Smyrna Speedway for the first time in his career, setting the fastest lap in qualifying and scoring a fifth place finish in the Rey Eye 100.
“Qualifying on the pole my first time at New Smyrna Speedway and finishing in the top 5, gave me a lot of confidence since I was racing with the best of the best that weekend,” Diaz said. “For it being my first race in the Super, I learned a lot, but I’m hoping to learn more since I will be racing every day at Speedweeks.”
Diaz’s main expectation is to just learn more about the Super Late Model while getting an early start in chasing Division I points in the NASCAR WHELEN All-American Series.
“This week I want to run up front. We are hoping for top 5 finishes every night,” Diaz remarked. “A win would be nice, so we can get some points, but our main goal is to keep the car in one piece.”
Strong runs early in points will help Diaz with his 2017 goal of striving towards the Rookie of the Year title in the NASCAR WHELEN All-American Series. He will be running in Division I at New Smyrna for Speedweeks before heading up to North Carolina and Virginia to compete in a Late Model Stock Car at Southern National Motorsports Park, Caraway Speedway, Hickory Motor Speedway and Motor Mile Speedway.
Having already raced in a Pro Late Model and a Super Late Model at New Smyrna Speedway, Diaz has learned about the car and the track, but he feels there is still more to learn.
“The very first race, you don’t learn everything you need to,” Diaz explained. “You learn a lot but you can’t take everything in. My first Super race, I was more focused on finishing the race in one piece than anything else. Coming into Speedweeks, I want to take it all in and learn something every race.”
Diaz’s top-five finish in the Red Eye 100, along with his 10th place finish in last year’s Snowflake 100 Pro Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway in Florida, have many looking at Diaz as a potential breakout star in 2017.
“This year is my year for racing,” Diaz stated. “We’re going hardcore this year. I’m going to do the best I can at every race and to a be a strong competitor. With the help of Mike Darne Racing, I believe we can be a contender at every track.”
Mike Darne Racing specializes in Late Model Stock Cars and is branching out to Super Late Models along with Mason. Mason has a full schedule this year, with mostly LMSC weekly series racing. He plans on participating in bigger events like Martinsville, and the Snowball Derby after the National points close.
Mason Diaz is supported by The Sign Shop, Mike Darne Racing, Prince William Marina, Concord Automotive and Convenience Car Care.
PHOTO: Mike Darne, left, and Mason Diaz, right, debrief before a race at Southern National Motorsports Park.