Craig Lutz Claims Second Straight Speedweeks Opener
Feb 15, 2022
Mason Diaz plans on staying busy during the 2022 season. In fact, his season began before the ARCA Menards Series East kickoff Tuesday night at New Smyrna Speedway.
“We already ran Florence and the IceBreaker in the Late Model Stock and had a solid finish there,” Diaz told Racing America. “We needed to be a little bit better, but we worked hard to get a good finish.”
Following the top-10 finish at the Florence IceBreaker, Diaz now returns to New Smyrna Speedway. Diaz finished fourth in last year’s ARCA Menards Series East event during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. He’s also a former winner in the 100-lap Pro Late Model feature held every year during the World Series.
Thus, Diaz has plenty of reason to be excited ahead of his debut with Jeff McClure Racing.
“Back here at Speedweeks is always the best time of the year. It’s when race season kicks off,” said Diaz. “Now we’re down here racing for Jeff McClure. It’s my first time with this team, and we’re hoping for a good showing.”
The week is just beginning with Tuesday night’s 200-lap ARCA East event. Diaz will also make his debut at Daytona International Speedway, competing in the ARCA Menards Series season opener.
“That’s every racer’s dream come true, to be able to race Daytona. Hopefully, today in practice we’ll see how fast this piece is. We’ll race tonight, and then we’ll go to the big track.”
The ARCA doubleheader came together quite quickly for Diaz. It was not originally part of his plans for the 2022 season, but the deal fell into place with enough time to make the trip to Speedweeks.
“After last year, we weren’t really sure what our plans were. When this deal happened, it was very fast. I have to thank Solid Rock Carriers and Racing America for coming on board, all my sponsors.
“It’s a huge opportunity for us to come down here. Hopefully the night goes good, and we’ll move on to the big track.”
It’s all part of what promises to be a busy 2022 season for Diaz. He’ll compete full-time on the CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour while also branching out to Dirt Late Model racing during the year.
“We are doing the CARS Tour. The Touring 12, we were selected for that. We’re moving into the Triple Crown stuff. We’ve also got a Dirt Late Model, 604 crate. We’re going to play with that some this year.”
“I’ve never raced anything in dirt before. I tested the crate once in December on a non-prepped track. That’s all I have for experience, but it was fun.
“I’m looking forward to venturing with that and trying to learn as much as I can. I think, right now, having dirt experience is very key for where we are in the sport right now.”