Mason Diaz was hoping to make the field and gain some experience Saturday night’s Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 Pro Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. He ended up surpassing his own expectations with a top-10 finish.
Diaz unloaded with a fast car, qualifying 19th with a 16.822 second lap. That lap solidly locked him in the show, taking pressure off of him and completing his main objective.
“We were just going down to see what it was about,” Diaz said. “Qualifying 19th was exciting for me. It’s my first big show I ever went to other than Martinsville. It’s harder to make this one wih 60 cars going for 30 spots. With it being green, white, checkered qualifying, a lot of pressure for a driver to run good laps. For us to make the race, beating 40 other cars in qualifying, gave us confidence in the race.”
After making the show, Diaz’s next goal was to finish the race and bring the car home in one piece.
“We dodged all the wrecks and started passing people,” Diaz remarked. “Tell you the truth, I just wanted to make the race. I didn’t care where I finied. A top 10 with the car being in one piece is a great weekend. I learned a lot. Track is a driver’s track. You have to keep the tires on it and I think I did a pretty good job.”
Tire management is something Diaz has focused on learning when racing Pro Late Models at Southern National Motorsports Park or competing in the CARS Super Late Model Tour at tracks like Hickory Motor Speedway.
“Hickory is close to the same thing but not as bad on tires,” Diaz explained. “People say the closest track is Myrtle Beach. Southern National with it being hard on tires has helped me for down here but it’s nowhere close to how much the tires wear off down here.”
Diaz’s 10th place finish was impressive for it being his first Five Flags Speedway appearance. Diaz finished ahead of some elite Pro and Super Late Model drivers in his 10th place finish.
“I couldn’t do it without Mike Darne, Steve Darne, Dennis Brock, Bobby Morris and Robert Arch,” Diaz commented.
Diaz will look ahead to the 2017 season where he will compete in a handful of Pro Late Model races as well as in Late Model Stock Car racing. Diaz’s primary objective in 2017 will be to win the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship.
Mason Diaz is supported by The Sign Shop, Mike Darne Racing, Prince William Marina, Concord Automotive and Convenience Car Care. To learn more about Mason Diaz Racing, “like” Mason Diaz Racing on Facebook.