Mason Diaz is hoping to clinch his second Southern National Motorsports Park track championship on Sunday afternoon in the track’s regular-season finale.
Diaz, 20, from Manassas, Virginia, won the track championship in 2017. Since then, he has raced in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the ARCA Menards Series where he scored a fourth-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway in September. Diaz has also raced in a Late Model Stock Car in North Carolina and Virginia – scoring four wins so far on the 2020 season and enters Sunday’s season finale at Southern National with a 17-point advantage over defending track champion Bradley McCaskill.
If Diaz can seal the deal in Sunday’s NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series (NAAWRS) doubleheader, he will become the fifth repeat champion in the Lucama, North Carolina track’s storied history.
“It’s always good to win a championship,” Diaz told Short Track Scene. “It shows that our team is performing throughout the year. It takes away some of the bad races and shows the consistency of the team.”
Diaz has had a successful season in Late Model Stock Car competition, scoring wins at Dominion Raceway, Hickory Motor Speedway, and Southern National Motorsports Park – three of the most competitive tracks on the NAAWRS roster this season.
“Just being able to run consistent races, we’ve shown speed,” Diaz said. “Sometimes, we were a little off in our setup which happens from time to time. Throughout the year, I think we finished top-five the entire season at Southern National. No matter what experience you have, whether it’s ARCA or Late Model, experience is experience.”
While Diaz was dominant in 2017, driving for the Mike Darne Racing team which has won three of the last five Southern National championships, the 2020 season has seen much stiffer competition with drivers like presumptive NAAWRS champion Josh Berry, reigning track champion Bradley McCaskill, former NAAWRS national champion Peyton Sellers, former Carteret County Speedway champion Brandon Clements and breakout star John Goin.
“If Ryan Wilson had run the whole season, he’d be right up there with us,” Diaz elaborated. “John Goin had a good season. Same with Bradley McCaskill. The guys running for the national championship, Peyton Sellers and Josh Berry, haven’t made it any easier so we’ve had to earn it.”
Diaz has spent much of the season competing in the ARCA Menards Series East for Venturini Motorsports where he has two top-five finishes on the two concrete tracks on the circuit, Bristol and Dover. His top-five finish at Bristol Motor Speedway was impressive given his 15th place starting position and some of the in-race adversity he faced.
“We lost our sway bar on lap 30,” Diaz recalled. “We ran that entire race without a sway bar. I still have two more races so we need to go make them strong.”
Those two races will take place at All-American Speedway in Roseville, California and Kern County Raceway in Bakersfield, California in the ARCA Menards Series West.
“Any experience racing with those guys in ARCA is good,” Diaz continued. “It teaches you car control, understanding, and a lot more discipline in the seat than the Late Model Stock Car with the ARCA cars being heavier. Going to new tracks allows me to gain new experience while gaining more experience at tracks I have run at before.”
Sunday’s Late Model Stock Car doubleheader at Southern National Motorsports Park will commence at 3pm and will also include a $3,000-to-win Legends feature race.